Socialist Worker

Colleges join strikes for pay

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2593

Uni strikes are an inspiration to college workers

Uni strikes are an "inspiration" to college workers (Pic: Guy Smallman)

UCU union members across 14 colleges were set to start a 48-hour strike from Wednesday. Sunderland College workers will also strike on Wednesday.

The action is against a below-inflation 1 percent pay offer.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave a message of support to strikers last week. “I’ll be supporting you this week,” he said. “We’ve had pay frozen in the public sector for seven years.”

The first day of the walkout will coincide with the final day of a three-day strike by UCU members in 61 universities over pensions.

Sean Vernell, who teaches at City and Islington College, addressed a strike meeting at University College London last week. “We will be joining you on strike,” he said. “You are an inspiration and you’ve given us more confidence to fight.”

College workers have suffered years of real terms pay cuts. Overall a massive 91 percent backed strikes in a recent ballot, on a turnout of 63 percent.

Tower Hamlets College teacher Richard said, “Our vote shows that people are quite determined. And people are upbeat after seeing the photos and videos from the university strikes.

“The anger in colleges is fuelled by mergers. After mergers a lot of heads of departments have seen their salaries go from £50,000 to £70,000.

“The money is there to give us a pay rise.”

The colleges that will be on strike are City and Islington, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London, Westminster Kingsway, Croydon, Epping Forest, Havering, Lambeth, Richmond-upon-Thames, Sandwell, Sunderland, City of Westminster, College of North West London, Hackney, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets

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