§ Mr. Beggs
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the effect on young people and on the morale of further education lecturers caused by the continuing dispute over pay and conditions of employment; if the assistance of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service has been sought; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
It is regrettable that the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education is continuing to promote industrial action by its members. The view of the local authority employers is that this action has not yet caused significant disruption to the effective provision of the further education service, and so the interests of students have not been seriously damaged.
The local authority employers have made a pay offer worth 9.3 per cent. in a full year in return for which they are seeking agreement on more cost-effective working arrangements, the need for which was accepted by the lecturers in the context of the 1985 settlement but on which no progress has so far been made. The assistance of the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service has not been sought.
I hope that a settlement will be reached soon in the best interests of the students and of industry and commerce as well as of the lecturers themselves.