A PICKET line of Swindon New College lecturers started their strike bright and early outside the college in a fight over pay.

It is anticipated that between 70 to 80 teachers will be involved in taking action over a two day period.

This means that a big chunk of the teaching department will not be available to teach, although college bosses say lessons won’t be affected.

Fiona Wright, a maths lecturer at the college, said: "It is a real shame that it has come to this.

"We need to be listened to and this is the only way they will listen."

Students were engaging with the protesters by wearing stickers and taking leaflets in support of them.

The University and College Union says the row centres on the 'failure' of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff. The UCU says members have seen their pay decline by 25 per cent in the past decade.

This has led to the pay gap between schoolteachers and lecturers in colleges reaching £7,000, according to the union.

In the recent ballot, 78 per cent of UCU members at the college who voted backed strike action.

The union claims the college could afford to pay staff better but chose not to.

Five other colleges in England are also striking today, with action also being taken at Bath College, Bradford College, Croydon College, Lambeth College and Petroc College in Devon.