Socialist Worker

College staff strike back over cuts in Chesterfield

Issue No. 2305

Striking lecturers at Chesterfield College won enormous support when they walked out this week against cuts.

The UCU union members struck on Tuesday of this week to defend jobs and pay. Lecturers from local colleges visited picket lines along with workers from the GMB, Unison, PCS and Unite unions, students and ex-students.

James Eaden works at the college and is also on UCU’s national executive. He told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had very good picket lines with lots of first-time pickets out.

“Even someone who crossed the picket line on 10 May was out picketing today because she is so outraged at what the college is doing.”

Management at the college want to axe 39 teaching staff by the end of the academic year and are attacking pay.

Ebony, an hourly-paid lecturer, is on the front line of the attacks. “I took a pay cut last year,” she said. “This year they want another 15 percent.

“People have an idea that lecturers get a lot of money but we don’t. I only get paid for the hours I teach, which can be as little as nine hours a week.”

Management attacks have been too much for some workers. One lecturer described how she felt she had “no option” but to take voluntary redundancy.

“I don’t want to leave—I love teaching,” she said. “But I’ve had the threat of redundancy hanging over me for 18 months. I’m devastated.”

Nonetheless, the strength of the strike shows that there is a determined mood to fight back. James said, “We have a live mandate for strikes. If management don’t withdraw the cuts we can take more action.”

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Tue 29 May 2012, 18:45 BST
Issue No. 2305
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