Blackburn College staff will be striking for 10 days in the ‘biggest further education strike ever seen’ later this month.

Staff at Blackburn will be joined by 25 further education colleges with 10 days of strike action starting on Monday, September 26.

The University and College Union confirmed the strikes will go ahead unless employers make a significant pay rise to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

The action will amount to the biggest set of strikes ever taken in further education.

The strikes will take place over four weeks in the first half term of the academic year, with strikes taking place on September 26, 27 and 28, and October 6, 7, 10, 11, 18, 19 and 20.

The strike comes after 89.9 per cent of UCU members voted in July.

The union is demanding employers make a pay offer that reflects the soaring costs college staff currently face.

In June, employer representative the Association of Colleges made a pay recommendation of 2.5 per cent.

Last week staff at a further three colleges, including Burnley College, took two days of strike action over low pay.

The Department for Education has announced £1.6 billion in extra funding for further education and the UCU estimates  colleges already have an additional £400 million that is available to spend on staff compared with 2019-20.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “College staff are set to take unprecedented strike action because they cannot go on being paid so little.

“Inflation is soaring and college bosses have more money at their disposal than they have had in years, yet they are refusing to protect their staff from the cost-of-living crisis.

“College staff deliver excellent education but over the last twelve years their pay has fallen behind inflation by 35 per cent and now thousands are skipping meals, restricting energy use and considering leaving the sector altogether.

“College leaders need to wake up to this crisis, stop dining off the goodwill of their workforce and make a serious pay offer.

“Failure to do so will lead to the largest strike action that English further education has ever seen.”

Blackburn College has been approached for comment.