Socialist Worker

Greenwich College workers hit back at hated new contracts

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2450

Strikers on the picket line outside Greenwich College last week

Strikers on the picket line outside Greenwich College last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Workers at Greenwich College in south east London struck on Tuesday of this week against new contracts.

The contracts would add two hours to the working week, slash holidays and bring in unannounced lesson observations.

Lynne Chamberlain is a UCU member at the college and a parliamentary candidate for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

She told Socialist Worker, “The principal wants blood —and she is not backing down. What’s really upsetting people is the on the spot observations. People are saying that even Ofsted gives two days’ notice.”

Workers were set to strike on Thursday of this week, and on Wednesday and Friday of next week.

The UCU branch met on Monday of this week and overwhelmingly agreed to call for a four-day strike beginning on 5 May if an agreement isn’t reached.

The meeting voted to offer a concession to management over holidays if bosses agreed to retreat on other attacks. But some workers were unhappy that union officials seemed to be encouraging them to offer concessions.

Lynne said, “Some people feel we shouldn’t give anything. Others say we should give no more concessions. A minority on the picket line were saying we should go for an all-out strike.”

The union was set to meet bosses on Wednesday of this week. Workers have shown they are willing to fight. And the struggle has helped build the union—the branch has recruited 11 people during the dispute.

Over £200 was raised at a special further education sector conference last Saturday.

Strikers need solidarity. And they should demand their national union throws its weight behind them instead of looking for compromises.

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Article information

Tue 21 Apr 2015, 16:40 BST
Issue No. 2450
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