Socialist Worker

Lewisham and Southwark college workers strike to defend education

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2458

Camberwell picket

Strikers in Camberwell on Thursday morning (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Workers at Lewisham and Southwark College are out on strike today, Thursday, to defend jobs and education.

The walkout marked the beginning of a 2-day strike by UCU union members.

Bosses want to slash up to 200 jobs and close an entire site in Camberwell, South London.

One picket in Camberwell told Socialist Worker, "The foundation studies courses are the biggest hit.

"They include maths and English - basic skills. Every other course depends on it because you can't study if you can't speak English."

Bosses want workers to go through a lengthy process to apply for the jobs they already have.

They will have to complete a "skills matrix" then be interviewed, then complete a "micro teach" where they will be observed teaching students.

Another striker said, "This is a time when we should be concentrating on our students' success. Instead they are putting us through this horrible process.

"I have to apply for a job I've been doing for 25 years. People are incredibly demoralised. But we're also very angry."

Strikers plan to rally at the college's site in Lewisham later this morning, then hold a mass rally in Camberwell tomorrow at 10.30am.

The cuts are part of a wider assault on further and adult education. 

UCU members at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College were also out on strike today.

Those at Hackney College plan to walk out for one hour at 4pm.

Workers know that, if the cuts go through, the most vulnerable people in the area will suffer.

"They want to sell this building to create unaffordable homes or a free school," said one Camberwell picket.

"It will do nothing to enrich the lives of impoverished adults but will enrich the lives of the middle class.

"More people are supporting the strikes because of the draconian measures being used to hack jobs down to the number they want.

"The battle continues."

Send messages of support to [email protected]

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

Article information

Thu 18 Jun 2015, 09:50 BST
Issue No. 2458
Share this article


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