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Lecturers in further education (FE) colleges are the "the poor relations of the education system," according to their union.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) in FE are to take strike action for a week from Monday.

As the UCU represents the majority of more than 1,700 FE lecturers, the walkout is expected to cause widespread disruption to college courses.

The heads of the FE colleges said the strike will negatively impact learners.

They also said the colleges were facing "significant budgetary pressures".

The UCU and the NASUWT - which also represents some lecturers - recently called pay rises of 1% for 2021-22 and 1% for 2022-23 "dismal".

Lecturers did get a recent £3,000 one-off pro-rata payment to help with rises in the cost of living.

The starting salary for a full-time FE lecturer in Northern Ireland is about £25,000 a year, although some staff are paid on an hourly basis or work part-time.

But the Northern Ireland UCU official Katharine Clarke said the pay of FE staff in Northern Ireland was lower than that in many other parts of the UK.

"Our members are taking this action because they have experienced over a decade of pay freeze followed by pay restraint that has seen lecturer pay awards capped at between 1% and 2%," she said.

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