Socialist Worker

Day of action: workers and students united for education

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2207

Protesting at City and Islington College on Monday (Pic: Sean Vernell)

Protesting at City and Islington College on Monday (Pic: Sean Vernell)


Workers and students at more than 100 universities and colleges held protests on Monday as part of the United for Education day of action against education cuts.

Lecturers at the University of the Arts London and City College Birmingham struck for the day, and Lambeth College held a two-hour lunchtime strike.

Strikes that had been set to take place at Bradford and Wolverhampton colleges and Sussex university were called off after bosses backed down over compulsory redundancies.

Instead, workers joined the wave of protests around the country that saw different activities, including stalls, lunchtime picnics, petitioning, film showings, vuvuzela protests and a “conga against cuts”.

Workers in the ATL, GMB, EIS, UCU, Unite and Unison unions came together with students for the day of action.

Pickets were out early at London College of Communications – part of the University of Arts London – on Monday.

“Management has probably made more than 100 lecturers redundant, including part-time staff,” Ron Todd, the UCU union branch secretary, told Socialist Worker.

“They’re also talking about closing the nursery.”

At City College Birmingham, lecturers struck against 78 redundancies, which would hit creche facilities and English language classes.

Together with other local workers they marched through the city centre to protest against the cuts.


Westminster university

Bosses are threatening to dock 50 percent of UCU members’ pay for each day an assessment boycott continues at Westminster university.

UCU members have been boycotting assessments since 21 May in protest at over 200 job cuts.

Students and workers occupied the foyer together on Monday in protest, until they were eventually evicted by police.


Manchester college

Union activists at Manchester College are preparing to strike on Wednesday of next week, despite management intimidation and threats of sackings.

College bosses have derecognised the UCU union branch and are trying to force through new contracts.

One union activist, who asked not to be named for fear of being sacked, said, “Everything’s under attack. They’re saying we have to sign new contracts or face dismissal.

“People have been crying. There’s anger but also fear. Loads of people are leaving.

“The bosses are trying to get rid of all the reps. They hate the UCU.”

Manchester is Europe’s biggest college, and there are more than 600 UCU members.

The union called an emergency regional meeting on the situation this week.

Lecturers at Manchester Met university spent the Monday day of action giving out leaflets about the situation at the college.

The strike on June 30 is now the focus. “Our hope is that we can make this derecognition and this campaign a national issue,” said the activist.

Messages of support to tmc-ucu@googlegroups.com


Westminster college

Lecturers at Westminster College in London struck on Wednesday and Thursday of last week over planned job cuts.

Keith McKenna, a UCU rep at the college, told Socialist Worker, “The key issue is casualisation – full time teachers being replaced with much cheaper ones.

“They’re planning to make people redundant and then bring them back on a lower, hourly-paid rate.”

He added that the union’s next step will be strikes during enrolment week and the first week of teaching in September.


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Tue 22 Jun 2010, 22:49 BST
Issue No. 2207
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