Lecturers at all five Barnet College campuses from across the borough joined a national 24-hour strike on Tuesday in protest at pay and conditions in the further education sector.

Members of NATFHE, the further and higher education lecturers' union, held a picket outside the Grahame Park Way campus in Colindale, before joining a rally in central London.

Earlier this month college unions rejected a three per cent pay rise from employers' body, the Association of Colleges. Their pay is much worse than that of teachers, they argue.

Allan Clifford, NATFHE's Hendon branch secretary, said: "This is a very important strike for lecturers who are sick of having to battle locally over pay and conditions and who will be sending the strongest possible voice to government to sort out the appalling situation in the sector."

Barnet College principal John Skitt said he regretted the industrial action but supported demands for substantial pay increases. "This needs to be funded by central government as pay increases have to be met from diminishing college core budgets," he said.

Barnet College has already suffered industrial action in recent months. Lecturers staged a 24-hour walk out in March in protest at pay and conditions following the merger of Barnet and Hendon colleges last year. And in April, staff and students from the Grahame Park Way campus protested at college plans to close its bakery and sugarcraft department.