THE LATEST round of strike action in the universities, targeting student registration week in London, kicked off at University College London (UCL) and Goldsmiths on Monday of this week. They are fighting for improved an London weighting allowance. Members of the Unison and AUT unions picketed the UCL main site on Monday and Tuesday, as well as a number of outlying buildings.
The Amicus-MSF union asked its members to take both days off in solidarity. Picket lines were well attended. The response of students at UCL also lifted the strikers, with many being turned away. All of UCL's libraries were closed.
Strikes at other central London colleges were set to follow. Lecturers in all the London pre-1992 institutions have returned strong yes votes over the summer. 'We should visit each other's picket lines when SOAS, LSE and King's come out on strike,' said one of the AUT strike convenors. 'But we also need to be conscious that other workers are striking on the same issue. We need to be on strike together.'
The AUT has reballoted its members and declared a local dispute with each college employer, complicating the dispute. But it is the success of the strike action and morale of union members on the picket line which will determine how the campaign goes from here.