Socialist Worker

Colleges strike back

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2206

Lecturers at Westminster College were set to strike on Wednesday and Thursday of this week in protest at compulsory redundancies.

College management want to sack seven teaching staff. The workers’ UCU union says that the cuts are part of a broader attack on education.

“This is an attempt to casualise the workforce,” Keith McKenna, a UCU rep at the college, told Socialist Worker.

“They want to make people redundant and replace them with hourly-paid lecturers.

“We suspect that it will lead to worse contracts being brought in for everyone.

“We see the strike as being in defence of students’ education.

“The cuts would mean lecturers have less contact time with students and fewer hours for teaching.”

Workers have threatened to stage further action during enrolment in September if management refuse to back down.

Manchester College

Workers at Manchester College have voted overwhelmingly for strikes and action short of strikes to defend their terms and conditions.

They are set to strike later this month.

They face a bullying management and attacks on the UCU union.

Management told the UCU that it intends to derecognise it on the day of the ballot result.

Day of Dissent

Workers at two colleges in the West Midlands are to strike on Monday of next week – to mark the Day of Dissent in education.

Lecturers at the University of the Arts London and the University of Sussex will strike on the same day.

Seven education unions are backing the day of action – the UCU, Unison, the GMB, Unite, the NUS, the ATL and the EIS.

Lecturers in the UCU union at the two West Midlands colleges voted overwhelmingly for action to save jobs.

UCU members at City College Birmingham voted by 88 percent for strikes and 93 percent for action short of a strike.

And 70 percent of those voting at Wolverhampton College backed strikes and 92 percent action short of strikes.

Meanwhile UCU members at Birmingham Metropolitan College have voted to take action short of a strike.

Over 300 jobs are at risk across the three colleges. City College Birmingham plans to abolish supported learning.

This division provides basic English and maths courses for

homeless students, and supports disabled students and those with learning difficulties.

Cuts would also hit English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) classes.

University of the Arts London

Lecturers at the University of the Arts London (UAL) are set to strike on Monday of next week. The strike will involve six colleges and will be the second strike in a dispute to save jobs.

The six colleges are London College of Fashion, London College of Communications, Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, Camberwell College of Art and Design and Wimbledon College of Art and Design.

“Over the last year we’ve had 100 compulsory redundancies and a series of course closures,” said a UCU member at UAL.“We want to stop all compulsory redundancies.”

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