A STAFF walkout at Bridgwater & Taunton College set to take place over two days next week is ON, says the union organising the action.

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) are set to go on strike on Tuesday and Wednesday next week (January 29 and 30) in a dispuite over pay and condition.

The union said it had hoped the colleges would have made serious offers to avoid the disruption, but none have been forthcoming.

In the recent ballot, 87% of UCU members at Bath College who voted backed strike action, while 83% of voting members at Bridgwater & Taunton supported the strikes.

Bath College staff will be on picket lines outside the Avon Street entrance from 8am on both days.

READ MORE: Strike action set for Bridgwater & Taunton College

Their colleagues at Bridgwater & Taunton College will be on picket lines from 7.30am on both days at the main college entrances on Bath Road in Bridgwater, Wellington Road in Taunton and Rodway Hill in Cannington.

UCU regional official, Nick Varney, said: "UCU members at Bath College and Bridgwater & Taunton College will be on strike next week because they have had enough of increasing workloads while their pay is eroded.

"These colleges have to prioritise their staff and come back to us with a meaningful offer. If they refuse then further strikes are on the cards."

UCU members at 15 English colleges are walking out as part of a second wave of strikes after staff at six colleges took action in November.

The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000 and around two-thirds of college heads have said pay is a major obstacle in attracting staff.

The union said further strikes were planned if the colleges refused to make a decent offer to staff, and that they could not hide behind government cuts if they wanted to avoid further disruption.

Earlier this week, a college spokeswoman expressed disappointment at a "small number" of staff backing industrial action, although she respected their right to do so.

She added: "We will work to ensure any potential disruption will be minimal and ensure students are not adversely impacted by any action taken.

"The reality is that further education colleges are inadequately funded by central government. We recently took part in the national Love Our Colleges campaign to highlight the lack of central funding and we will continue to lobby hard for fairer funding.

"In order to mitigate the funding challenges we actively seek external funding to support investment in our facilities and resources ensuring our focus can remain on supporting students to achieve their full potential, gaining the qualifications and experience to equip them for future employment.

"Our staff members are crucial to student success and we recognise their professional focus on our student experiences, despite financial pressures.

"We remain one of the most successful colleges in the FE sector, which is reflected in the achievements of our students who continue to benefit from the BTC Advantage, with access to the best resources, learning and enrichment experiences that we can provide."