Socialist Worker

Lambeth College workers defiantly vote for all-out strike

Issue No. 2404

Lambeth College workers marching against the bosses attack

Lambeth College workers marching against the bosses' attack (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Lecturers in the UCU union at  Lambeth College have overwhelmingly backed an all-out strike in a battle against hated contracts imposed by bosses. Over 89 percent backed the strike on a turnout of 72 percent.

They hope to begin the indefinite action in early June.

The contracts force them to work longer hours, cut sick pay and slash holidays. Workers struck against the attack on 1 May after bosses got an injunction against a planned all-out strike.

Since then, college principal Mark Silverman has made workers more angry. He initially said the new contracts would only apply to new staff and those who changed their job or hours.

But last week he said existing workers would only be “protected” from the new contracts until August next year. College bosses have also unveiled fresh attacks on workers with plans for a wave of redundancies.

They plan to cut 20 full time equivalent posts – which will put 102 workers in a redundancy pool at risk of joblessness.

Worse

Science teacher Laura told Socialist Worker, “I’ve worked here for 15 years and things have got worse, especially with this new principal. In my department we’d been without a manager for two years.

“Now we’ve finally got one – but she’s been told it’s temporary and the job is being advertised again.

“They just think they can bring anyone in to do the job and it will be alright – but it won’t. They’re driving out experienced staff.”

“Members are very angry about the assault on our college and our livelihoods,” Lambeth College UCU branch secretary Mandy Brown told Socialist Worker.

“After attacks on our contracts and now redundancies on top of increasingly bullying management tactics and unbearable workloads, our members have very clearly said ‘enough is enough, this has to stop’.”

Workers can win this dispute. An all-out strike at Tower Hamlets College in 2009 beat the threat of compulsory redundancies. More recently workers have won victories at Edinburgh College and at Hovis in Wigan – by taking strong action and refusing to back down.

It is vital that every trade unionist gets behind the strike.

Rush solidarity messages and requests for strikers to speak in your workplace or campaign group to mandybrowncow@yahoo.com

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