Socialist Worker

Strikers furious at pay rise bonanza for Lambeth College boss

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2407

Lambeth college strikers

The picket line in Brixton (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The boss of Lambeth College pocketed a 13 percent pay rise last year–the highest rise of any college principal in London.

Mark Silverman grabbed a 12.9 percent pay rise taking his salary to a massive £149,000 a year.

This is the same man who is waging war on workers at the south London college. It makes a mockery of his claim that there’s no money to give staff decent contracts.

Silverman wants to impose contracts that slash sick pay, cut holidays and impose longer working hours.

UCU union members have been on all-out strike against the attack since Tuesday of last week. Unison union members joined the action on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

The strike is getting stronger with more people joining the UCU so they can take part in the action. College buildings are all but deserted as classes are shut down.

The UCU has called a national day of action in support of the Lambeth College strikers on 25 June.

It’s a day that every trade unionist across Britain can get behind and organise events to raise money and support for the strikers.

Workers have now raised over £12,000 for the strike fund and visited over 50 workplaces to build support.

Mandy Brown is branch secretary of Lambeth UCU. “People come back from visiting workplaces inspired and full of confidence,” she told a strike rally in Brixton yesterday, Thursday.

“Our branch will never be the same again.”

Mandy told Socialist Worker that Silverman’s pay rise was “a disgrace”. “There are 3,000 people on a waiting list to learn English,” she said. “Yet 70 percent of the Brixton centre has been sold off and over 100 Esol teachers may lose their jobs.”

Nadia Elyacoubi has been picketing at the Vauxhall site of the college. “The principal has sent letters to three union members who’ve been picketing, accusing them of ‘unlawful intimidation’,” she told Socialist Worker.

“But what’s ‘lawful intimidation’ then? We teach English – we know the meaning of words. We are disgusted by this business-minded principal.”

Pascale Kennedy, another Vauxhall striker, told Socialist Worker, “On paper they say some lessons have gone ahead. But they haven’t really. We’ve spoken to the students and they can’t even log onto the computers.

“We are all so determined, even more than in the first week of the strike. We’re not backing down.”

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 to

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Fri 13 Jun 2014, 12:28 BST
Issue No. 2407
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.