The national attack on further education has returned to Doncaster College. The first attack was repelled in early summer by determined action that resulted in the fall of the then principal Rowland Foote and the finance manager.
Now the slashers are back. This time they are looking to cut 119 jobs and reduce educational provision even further. This is in a town with above average youth unemployment, where manufacturing industry has been decimated by Tory and New Labour policies.
The UCU lecturers’ union is determined to meet the challenge head on, and Doncaster activists are already organising opposition.
Dave Gibson, Secretary of Yorkshire and Humberside UCU, said, “We have to be clear that the cuts promised by Gordon Brown and David Cameron have already started.
“But we are already cut to the bone and we now face a return to two-tier provision in line with the needs of big business.”
Doncaster UCU is looking to call a demonstration that can be a beacon to all public sector unions. We need joined up strikes by workers in all unions under attack in Doncaster. We need an atmosphere of hope, not the despair that the BNP and English Democrats revel in.
Some 200 UCU union members at Barnsley College began a campaign against management’s introduction of new cheaper grades of lecturers, called associate teachers, with a one day strike on Thursday of last week.
Seven lecturers were downgraded to associate teacher grades over the summer. They stand to lose up to £12,000 in pay and ten days annual holiday.
One of the lecturers told Socialist Worker, “All of us are doing exactly the same work as we were doing before the summer.
“We had no choice. It was either no job or a job that pays less.
“The college is trying to save money to pay for new buildings at our expense. We are really lifted by the way that other lecturers are prepared to strike for justice for us.”
Many of the new grade lecturers are joining the union and were on strike on
Thursday. The number of pickets was high and the day finished with a march through Barnsley and a strike rally in the town centre.
The branch meets next week to plan future action.
London College of Communication
Lecturers at the London College of Communication (LCC) are to attend a special branch meeting on Friday as part of an ongoing campaign against redundancies, course cuts and closures.
The university executive board wants to cut £7 million over the coming year leading to the closure of 16 specialist arts and media courses.
The meeting will vote on whether to intensify the campaign of resistance by balloting for strike action.