Lecturers at Barnfield College in Luton struck on Tuesday of this week against attacks on jobs and conditions. College boss Sir Peter Birkett wants to impose new contracts that would force them to work “unlimited” hours.
The attacks are part of a plan to turn the college into a profit-making firm where “the needs of business” dictate workers’ terms and conditions.
Birkett is also chief executive of the Barnfield Federation, which runs several academies and free schools.
On for-profit education he said, “If we can make it successful in the FE sector, there’s no reason we can’t make it successful in schools”. Birkett was knighted this year for “services to the Further Education and Academy Movement”.
UCU and NUT union members are set to strike together for half a day on Monday of next week to defend jobs at K?College in Kent. UCU members voted for strikes by 93 percent on a 71 percent turnout in a recent ballot.
Students, education workers and others marched through north London on Friday of last week to support students at London Metropolitan University.
Some students there from outside the European Union are still at risk of being thrown off their courses in the future.
This follows a UK Border Agency ruling that revoked the university’s right to teach them. Its decision was based on examining a sample of just 101 students at London Met.
Mark Campbell, chair of the UCU union at London Met, said, “We will continue to fight for a full amnesty for our students.”
Lecturers at London’s Queen Mary’s University have voted to strike. The dispute is over redundancies and performance management.
University management wants to impose a new performance management system without negotiation with the UCU union. The ballot follows a record turnout for a UCU meeting at the university last May.
The UCU, Unite, Unison, GMB and EIS unions in higher education are balloting nationally for industrial action over pay. Employers are offering 1 percent. This amounts to a 11.6 percent pay cut after inflation is taken into account.
All higher education unions have submitted a pay claim for a catch up with inflation. Higher education workers need to go all out to get the vote out. The ballot closes on Wednesday of next week.
Malcolm Povey (UCU national executive, pc)