Thousands of lecturers and other staff will launch a campaign of strike action from Monday in a dispute over pay.
Around 4,000 members of the University and College Union (UCU) at 31 colleges in England will take up to 10 days of strike action over the coming weeks.
The union said the level of industrial action being undertaken is “unprecedented” in England.
Staff will be picketing outside colleges on each morning of strike action.
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The union said that since 2009 pay in further education has fallen behind inflation by 35% and the pay gap between school and college teachers stands at around £9,000.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “Strike action on this scale in further education is unprecedented but our members have been left with no other option, they are being pushed into poverty by college bosses who refuse to raise pay to help them meet the cost-of-living crisis."
Ms Grady said thousands of members are skipping meals, restricting energy use and considering leaving the sector altogether.
“This strike action will continue for 10 days unless college bosses wake up to this crisis, stop dining off the goodwill of their workforce and make a serious pay offer,” she said.
The industrial dispute follows a summer of strikes across other sectors, including rail, post and telecoms.
The widespread walkouts are set to resume in the coming weeks - Royal Mail workers plan to strike on September 30, 2,000 London bus driver will strike from October 4 and train drivers will also take industrial action.