HUNDREDS OF college workers, members of the Unison union in 11 pre-1992 London universities, took strike action last Thursday as the first step in their campaign to win an increase in London weighting to £4,000. Faced with a freeze on London weighting for the eleventh consecutive year, workers demonstrated that they had had enough.
Timed to hit colleges during registration week, the action was hugely successful, with lively picket lines covering dozens of sites across the city. The Unison strikers were boosted by support from student unions and lecturers, members of the AUT, who refused to cross picket lines in large numbers. The mood of the strikers was summed up by a lively and angry march to a well attended lunchtime rally.
Unison members had voted by 84 percent to take action. Sally Hunt, president of the AUT lecturers' union, told the rally that AUT members were beginning their own ballot and expected overwhelming backing for joining Unison in taking action.
Candy Udwin, Unison London deputy regional convenor, calling for a united strike day in November to bring together public sector workers and others, met with overwhelming support from the audience. The result of the consultative ballot among Unisonmembers in the post-1992 London universities announced on Friday showed 70 percent voting in favour of taking strike action in support of the claim. These members will now be balloted over the coming weeks.