UNIVERSITY staff across London have voted overwhelmingly for a one-day strike next Thursday, 14 November. The strike is the latest step in the campaign against the employers' ten-year freeze of the London weighting allowance. During this time transport costs in the capital have risen by over 50 percent and property prices by over 150 percent.
Despite refusing to increase this allowance to £4,000, London's fat cat university vice-chancellors, like Anthony Giddens of the LSE (£166,000 a year), receive an average salary far in excess of those outside the capital. The recent plans by Sir Richard Sykes, head of Imperial College (£242,000 a year), to merge Imperial with University College London and impose tuition fees of up to £10,500 on students, have hardened the mood among university workers. The strike will involve everyone from porters to professors.
All the campus unions - Unison, Amicus, Natfhe and the AUT - will take united action. University staff face the same battles over pay, Private Finance Initiatives and worsening conditions as other workers across the public sector. It is important that activists from the four unions work together to ensure effective action.
On 14 November there will be a lobby of the UCEA employers' association in Tavistock Square at 1pm, followed by a rally at TUC Congress House in Great Russell Street at 2pm.
Teachers and council workers
TEACHERS across London have voted to strike on Tuesday 26 November. Members of two teaching unions, the NUT and the NASUWT, voted to strike together as part of their campaign for increased London weighting allowances. NUT members voted by 81 percent to 19 percent for action on a 40 percent turnout, which was up by 10 percent on the turnout in the last ballot in March. In the NASUWT the result was 57 percent for striking and 43 percent against on a turnout of 32 percent.
The third teachers' union, the traditionally 'moderate' ATL, is now balloting for a one-day strike in London on the same day. The industrial action committee of the Unison union has sanctioned a one-day London-wide council workers' strike on 26 November. NUT branches are organising an official demonstration for the strike day.