Socialist Worker

Striking against sackings at Barnsley College

by Dave Gibson, Barnsley college UCU branch secretary
Issue No. 2123

Barnsley college was brought to a virtual standstill on Tuesday of last week by a strike by over 200 lecturers in the UCU union.

The strike is over the victimisation and sacking of Bob Willerton, a UCU official. Five other lecturers have been sacked in the last 18 months – more than in the whole previous history of the college.

More people picketed than ever before. At one site where there was only one picket during the national strike on 24 April there were ten picketing.

Many Unison union members crossed the picket lines reluctantly, telling the pickets how they were being intimidated with threats of disciplinary action by their managers.

Other non-UCU lecturers refused to cross the picket lines.

In the last few days before the strike there was a rush of people joining the UCU. The strike is the most solid the college has seen since the early 1990s. A strike rally of over 50 lecturers voted overwhelmingly for a further two day strike on Thursday and Friday of this week if Bob is not reinstated.

The strikers were uplifted by support on the picket lines from UCU members from Bradford, Chesterfield, Sheffield and Wakefield colleges as well as Nottingham Trent University. There was support too from Barnsley GMB, Barnsley TUC, and Barnsley and Wakefield branches of the NUT.

Send messages of support to [email protected]

Send donations to the Hardship Fund, Barnsley UCU, c/o 33 Western Street, Barnsley, S70 2BT.

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Article information

Tue 14 Oct 2008, 18:24 BST
Issue No. 2123
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