Spontaneous protest challenges 'weak link'
PEOPLE pressure mounted on a Glasgow college board of managers last week. On the Thursday a spontaneous protest by further education workers took place outside a meeting where 43 planned job losses were being discussed. About 100 lecturers and support staff at Langside College on the south side of Glasgow gathered around a banner saying "Management, you are the weakest link. Goodbye!"
Speakers from the lecturing unions EIS/CLA and SFHEA, and the support staff union UNISON, called for an end to the planned wage cuts. The unions also demanded a moratorium on all further education redundancies. UNISON representative Donald Morrison said, "We have a civic and moral duty to challenge these cuts.
"It's great to see staff from the different trade unions united in a fight to protect the local community's right to quality educational opportunities." EIS/CLA rep Malcolm Wilson said: "Our funding problem is compounded by wrong-headed decisions taken by unaccountable, unelected college managers supported by the national funding quango-the Scottish Further Education Council. New Labour claim to have boosted investment in further education. But the chalkface reality is that the spending per student is close to 1996 levels when the Tories were coming to the end of their reign."
Representatives of the EIS/CLA are to meet with members of the Scottish Parliament responsible for further education funding. College staff heard other speakers draw links between the plight of Langside College workers and other local community-based struggles-including the fight to keep Victoria Infirmary and Govanhill Pool open.