Workers at 12 London colleges were set to strike on Tuesday of next week to defend jobs and education.
The 12 colleges are City and Islington, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Hammersmith and Ealing, Hackney, Conel, College of North West London, Westminster Kingsway, South Thames Merton branch, Greenwich, Croydon and Lewisham and Southwark College.
The action will be joined by a number of colleges outside London. Though the UCU was unable to confirm which ones as Socialist Worker went to press..
Richard McEwan is a UCU union member at Tower Hamlets College. He told Socialist Worker, “The ballot results for strikes were very strong. They clearly show that members do want to strike to defend jobs.
“College branch meetings that followed the ballots reinforced that.”
Colleges across Britain face deep cuts in the wake of a government decision to slash funding for adult education by 24 percent. Some 200 lecturers, students and supporters joined a lobby of parliament to defend education on Tuesday of this week.
David Howard-Baker, a sixth form student, came to the lobby from Plymouth. He told Socialist Worker, “I’m here to stand up for the next generation who will be affected by the cuts. The cuts are completely unnecessary.”
Workers plan to lobby the business, innovation and skills department on the day of the strike.
Richard said the stakes are high. “We will lose 400,000 student places as a result of the 24 percent funding cut,” he said. “That’s on top of one million places cut since 2010.
“The Association of Colleges has said that adult education ‘will not exist’ by the time of the next election if the cuts go ahead.
“There is no option of waiting for a new government to save us in five years’ time. We have to fight now.”
Workers from several colleges and their supporters met in Camberwell, south London, on Wednesday of last week to discuss the fightback. April Ashley, assistant branch secretary of the Unison union in Southwark, said cuts to further education fell heavily on support staff.
She added that recent disputes at Lambeth College and over academies in Lewisham showed that “striking can win”. Rose Veitch from Hackney College told the meeting, “We’ve got the moral high ground.
“What the government is proposing is injustice. We’ve got to fight—what have we got to lose?”