Socialist Worker

Second union joins solid strike at Lambeth College as bosses struggle to cope

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2407

A big crowd of lively strikers rallied outside Lambeth College in Clapham this morning

A big crowd of lively strikers rallied outside Lambeth College in Clapham this morning (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Unison union members walked out on strike at Lambeth College in south London today, Wednesday. They joined UCU union members at the college, who have been on all-out strike since Tuesday of last week.

A big crowd of striking workers and supporters held a lively rally outside the college’s Clapham site this morning.

Unison striker Antony works at the college’s Brixton site. He told Socialist Worker, “The college has been very quiet because of the strike. It’s completely affected the college—there are no students in there at all.

“Everybody’s been very unhappy since Mark Silverman became principal here. He seems a divisive character.”

Silverman has spent the past week desperately trying to downplay the strike. Workers say his efforts are laughable.

A Unison striker at Clapham said. “The core of the building can look busy if management are walking around. But the actual rooms where teaching is meant to be happening are empty.”

Juliet teaches English for Speakers of Other Languages (Esol) and has worked at the college for 13 years. She told Socialist Worker that just one Esol class went ahead last night—out of 15 that were supposed to.

“The bosses have actually said we’ve closed down Esol at Brixton,” she said. “I can’t imagine us not winning.”

Workers are striking against new contracts that slash sick pay and holidays, and impose longer working hours.

Slash

Johnny, a UCU striker at Clapham, said, “Silverman’s here to slash and burn.

“He says we damage students’ education by going on strike. But according to that logic, management could do whatever they want to a workforce and you can’t fight back.”

Bosses say they have to impose worse contracts because they have no money. Workers know different.

Patricia, a striker from Brixton, said, “It’s just so obvious where the money’s gone. It’s gone on vanity projects.”

The mood among pickets was buoyant.

Union members from the NUT, RMT and Unite spoke at a solidarity rally along with students. A noisy group of strikers from the “3 cosas” campaign marched up to Clapham to join strikers there.

Strikers set up a barbeque on the picket line. Cars and buses hooted in support—and those on foot or bicycle shouted “hoots” too.

Striker Mario said, “It’s brilliant. Every day we are getting more daring.”

Vauxhall striker Dolores added, “The strike is solid and we’re getting lots of support. The longer it goes on, the more inspired you become.”

Unions should go all-out to build solidarity and support for the Lambeth College strike. A victory there will boost workers everywhere.


What you can do

Picket lines from 7am every day in Brixton, Clapham and Vauxhall and a mass meeting each day at 11am at the Clapham site.

Organise collections or weekly levies to support the strike.

Invite strikers to speak in your union or campaign meeting and rush messages of support tomandybrowncow@yahoo.com

 


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