Lecturers at two Midland colleges are threatening strike action over their alleged failure to implement a pay deal which had been agreed four years ago.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are targeting a total of 11 colleges across the country in a new campaign of industrial action.

The colleges include Evesham in Worcestershire and Sandwell College, which has campuses at Oldbury, Smethwick and West Bromwich.

All could be brought to a standstill over their apparent failure to award staff a pay deal agreed in 2004.

The union claimed the colleges are still refusing to honour the national pay deal, which was thrashed out four years ago.

And they said the failure of the further education institutions to implement the national agreement ranked as one of the longest ‘IOUs’ from management to staff in the history of industrial relations.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, said: “Members in these colleges are getting second-class pay for first-class teaching.

“They have waited four long years for a deal agreed with the national employers to be implemented. It is completely unacceptable for these colleges to think they can get away with an IOU for four years.

“We have consistently made it clear that we are willing to take into account local circumstances and agree ways to implement the plans.

“Flexible agreements have been made on the pay scales at a host of other colleges with serious financial difficulties and the remaining 11 have no excuses whatsoever. It is a matter of priorities and our members have waited long enough.”

The 2004 national agreement was aimed at trying to achieve pay parity for college lecturers with school teachers.

UCU said thousands of further education lecturers had been unable to reach the higher pay levels enjoyed by school teachers. The new scales were to provide higher salaries for new lecturers and faster progression.

The strike ballot opens tomorrow with the result due to be announced on January 12. If a ‘yes’ vote is secured, strike action at the colleges is likely to take place at the end of the same month.

Ms Hunt added: “If UCU members vote for industrial action, the colleges can expect disruption to start at the end of January and not end until the union is satisfied that members are benefiting from the agreement negotiated four years ago.”