College bosses used the anti-union laws to block a planned strike by lecturers this week.
UCU union members in further education colleges across England had planned to strike over pay on Tuesday.
The bosses’ Association of Colleges was granted an injunction to outlaw the strike hours before it began.
Some lecturers were planning protests against the move as Socialist Worker went to press.
Union leaders regularly say they will defy anti-union laws to defend workers’ rights. They should turn the rhetoric into reality.
UCU pulls Lambeth College ballot
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt has suspended a strike ballot at Lambeth College in south London over fears that college bosses would threaten legal action.
This is because bosses have proposed small changes to attacks they want to drive through.
The idea that bosses can make tiny changes to an offer and call it a “new” proposal to force a reballot could set a dangerous precedent.
But workers are clear that the fight must continue.
Lecturers and supporters protested outside the college’s Clapham site on Tuesday of last week.
One science lecturer told Socialist Worker, “This college is our pride, we don’t want to see it ruined.”
Sally Hunt refused to allow the new offer to be put to the branch before suspending the ballot.
Some UCU members have drawn up a motion to put to the union’s Further Education Committee stressing that the general secretary should not “usurp” the democracy of union branches.
The union is consulting members at Lambeth over the new offer.
It is recommending workers reject it and seek further improvements through negotiations.
A solid strike at Barnsley College
UCU union members at Barnsley College struck on Tuesday of this week.
They are fighting attacks on jobs and pay.
Lee Short is the UCU branch secretary there. He told Socialist Worker, “The strike was very good and we had new picketers out.
“Some students refused to cross our picket lines and all took leaflets.
“Many people said we will need to look at a strategy of escalation to win.”
Teachers: Vote yes for more action
Teachers in the NUT union are voting in a consultation on whether to take further action to defend pay, conditions and education.
The ballot closes on Wednesday of next week.
Members should vote yes for more action—and demand the union wages a fight that can win.