Students were set to join a march in London this Saturday on a national demo called by the NUS student’s union and the UCU union.
The United for Education demonstration comes as colleges face cuts and closures and Tories push ahead with plans to raise the cap on tution fees to £12,000 by 2026.
Mark, a student from Kingston University, said he planned to join the march “to be part of the movement against austerity.”
Sophia, from North London, said she hoped to bring around 20 students from her sixth form college to the protest.
“It’s come to our attention that quite a few members of staff are being made redundant along with cuts to education,” she told Socialist Worker.
“We’re trying to show that the redundancies are because the Tories are cutting funding.”
Rotten FE deal nodded through
UCU union members in further education across England have voted to accept a 1 percent pay deal in an indicative e-ballot.
Some 66 percent of UCU members voted to accept the offer, while 33 percent voted to reject. The national union made no recommendation to members regarding how to vote.
The UCU Left argued that a no vote could have been won. The union’s national conference saw FE members support a pay claim of £1 extra an hour for all and gender pay equality.
But the union’s Further Education Committee instead voted to hold a consultative ballot on the offer without recommendation.
A 1 percent deal does not address the 18 percent pay cut that workers have suffered in real terms over the last five years. The union should have escalated the fight.
Lecturers vote on wage offer
UCU members in higher education have voted to end their industrial action over pay, gender pay equality and casualisation. Members voted to end industrial action by 57 percent to 43 percent in a consultative ballot.
They voted by 52 percent to 48 percent that the latest employers' offer gives a sufficient basis for the union to begin detailed work on ending gender inequality and casualisation.
The offer is a 1.1 percent pay deal and a proposal for talks on gender pay equality and casualisation. This is just a 0.1 percent increase on bosses' original pay offer.
The UCU Left campaigned for a no vote. UCU members held a series of strikes over pay earlier in the year. The strength of the vote to reject the offer shows that many workers were prepared to fight on for a real pay rise, to win gender pay equality and end casual contracts.
Many more could have voted no had the union leadership put a clear recommendation and showed it was willing to continue the fight.
UCU Left takes on leadership
Jo McNeill has launched a campaign to become general secretary of the UCU union. Jo is president of the University of Liverpool UCU branch and a member of the UCU Left, which Socialist Worker supports.
Jo is standing against incumbent general secretary Sally Hunt.
Hunt has backed important campaigns such as Stand Up To Racism. She has often given speeches about the need to fight Tory attacks.
But many UCU members are frustrated that their union hasn’t led more of a sustained fight to defend their jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.
Jo told Socialist Worker, “I’m standing because our union needs to change. There is a disconnect between the membership and the leadership.
“We can’t tackle the difficult times ahead unless we can bring some unity to our movement.”
Teachers march for funding
The NUT union in London has called a march and rally on Thursday of this week against education funding cuts.
It is demanding investment in education. Tory cuts to school funding mean bigger classes and cuts to subjects.
They mean less money to support children with special educational needs.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is set to speak, as is NUT general secretary Kevin Courtney.
Action to hit hundreds of schools
eachers in the NASUWT union have called a strike in Northern Ireland on 30 November. The walkout will hit around 230 schools in Belfast and Newtownabbey.
Other schools will later take part in a programme of rolling strikes. Workers are fighting a 0 percent pay offer, excessive workload and job insecurity.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said workers were “left with no choice” due to the government’s “blatant disregard” for their pay and conditions.