Workers at City and Islington College in London vote for action (Pic: Sean Vernell)
Workers at 19 further education colleges are fighting to get the vote out in strike ballots over pay.
Bosses have offered yet another below-inflation pay deal of 1 percent.
Mandy Brown is a UCU union rep at Lambeth College in south London, and is on the union’s national executive committee.
She told Socialist Worker, “We often read in the news that headteachers have had their salaries increased because two posts have been amalgamated. But we have had our posts amalgamated time after time and we are constantly pushed to do more work.”
She added, “Our members are really angry. After every round of redundancies, the people left behind are left to pick up the extra work.”
Attacks on lecturers’ pay are an attack on education as a whole, and part of an attempt to undermine further education. This will hurt the poorest students. Khadeeja Ali is an hourly-paid lecturer at City and Islington College in north London.
“Further education is so important, it’s where people can get a second chance,” she told Socialist Worker. UCU members backed pay strikes by 75 percent in a consultation last year. The ballots end on 12 February.
The colleges balloting are City and Islington, CHENEL, Westminster Kingsway, South Thames, Carshalton, Kingston, City of Westminster, CONWL, Hackney, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Croydon, Epping Forest, Havering, Lambeth, Richmond Upon Thames, Sandwell, Sunderland and Sussex Coast College Hasting
Vote left in the union elections
Elections for various positions begin in the UCU union this week. The UCU Left, which Socialist Worker supports, is standing a number of candidates.
Nita Sanghera, a lecturer at Bournville College, is standing for Vice President.
Nita said, “I believe we are at a moment where we can create real change.
“I believe in standing up against attacks on education. We stand on the brink of a new era.
“The Tory party is in chaos, and Jeremy Corbyn’s radical manifesto has seen young people and the politically disengaged become mobilised.
We need powerful local and national political campaigning and industrial action to win on pensions and pay, to defend jobs, conditions and education.
“These are battles we can and must win.”
UCU Left candidates are standing on a platform of defending education, jobs, pay and conditions and also of fighting racism and all oppression.
Other candidates include Rachel Cohen, Sean Wallis, Ioanna Ioannou, Julie Roberts, Saleem Rashid and Margot Hill. The ballot ends on 1 March.
UCU activists in London met last Saturday and are calling a demo on 28 February.