Workers at Bradford university are striking to defend jobs and conditions.
Cleaners, cooks, gardeners, technicians, security guards and admin staff in the Unison union struck on Tuesday this week.
It follows a three-day walkout last week. Patrick, the Unison branch secretary at the university, told Socialist Worker that the action is over “restructuring and potential redundancies”.
Earlier in the year, bosses threatened to make around 200 staff redundant by Christmas.
“We’ve tried to negotiate with management but they’ve not given us any indication of how many redundancies we’re looking at,” he said.
“So we’re going on strike until you tell us—no redundancies.”
Many passers-by showed solidarity with strikers. Students and other university workers brought tea, coffee and food to the pickets.
Unison members voted for strikes by 80 percent in a ballot that ran over the summer. The turnout was 60 percent —beating the 50 percent threshold in the Tories’ Trade Union Act.
There was a buoyant mood on the picket line. “We’re doing really well, really strong,” said Patrick.
“Staff want to show how annoyed and upset and stressed out they are. They want someone to listen to them.”
UCU union members in six colleges will strike over pay on 28 and 29 November.
In England the union wants a 5 percent pay rise or a fixed increase of £1,500 for workers who earn less than £30,000 a year.
Some 85 percent of workers who voted backed strikes in a recent ballot of 107 colleges. Four reached a turnout of 50 percent or more, plus two others in separate ballots.
The UCU plans to reballot some branches from 28 November until 19 December.
The colleges that will strike are Bath, Bradford, New College Swindon, Petroc, Croydon and Lambeth.
The union leaders should also call for strikes at the 12 Welsh colleges that voted overwhelmingly for walkouts on pay and workload.
The UCU’s higher education committee (HEC) last week narrowly voted against reballoting branches with a 35 percent turnout or higher for pay strikes.
Nearly 69 percent of UCU members voting in universities backed strikes in a ballot. The overall turnout was 42 percent—the highest ever in a pay ballot.
Seven universities met the 50 percent threshold, 76 had a turnout of 35 percent or higher. The UCU Left, which Socialist Worker supports, proposed the reballots.
UCU members in higher education were set to meet for two special sector conferences on Wednesday.
If the delegates vote for reballots, this would overrule the HEC decision.
NASUWT union members at South Shields School struck on Thursday of last week to save their school.
The school was ordered to become an academy last November after being rated inadequate by Ofsted. Now South Tyneside Council has proposed closing the school because no academy firm wants to sponsor it.
Parents and students joined strikers on the picket line. They held placards reading, “We have a voice— Save South Shields School.”
- Workers at The John Roan school in south east London were set to strike on Wednesday this week.
The NEU union members are fighting to keep the school under local authority control.