Staff at Bradford College have won their ballots for strikes against compulsory redundancies. The college lecturers’ union Natfhe won an 87 percent vote for action on a turnout of over 61 percent.
Workers in the Unison union narrowly won their ballot. But Unison officials, without consultation, seem to have decided not to act on their result.
Natfhe members, however, are talking of substantial strike action in the near future if management does not withdraw its threat.
The dispute was unnecessarily thrown into confusion last week when Natfhe officials released a press statement without reference to negotiators or the two branch committees.
This claimed that the college principal, Michele Sutton, had made a commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies and was prepared to fund the pay deal from August of this year.
The press release said that the strike had been suspended while further negotiations take place.
However, the lay negotiators and branch committee members were mystified by the press release.
The pay offer falls well short of the Association of Colleges pay deal and the principal’s personal commitment on redundancies is meaningless.
The press release was not only undemocratic but a serious error by the officials, giving management a breathing space when they had conceded nothing of substance.
The local paper even quoted a college spokesman saying, “Compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out.”
Natfhe members are angry at the way officials have risked demobilising the campaign to defend education in Bradford.
One Natfhe rep said, “Until Bradford College management gives a binding commitment to withdraw the threat of compulsory redundancies, we are still in dispute.”
The Natfhe branch must give only a very short deadline for management to withdraw the threat before taking indefinite strike action.
Management are desperate to avoid strike action and are playing for time. Union members at the college need to make sure they cannot get away with it.
Howard Miles, Bradford College
Send messages of support to Tricia Gott, Branch Secretary, Bradford college Natfhe, Westbrook Building, Great Horton Road, Bradford, BD1. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Hackney Community College
Lecturers at Hackney Community College in east London have voted to strike for two more days in their battle against redundancies imposed by management.
This follows a one day strike two weeks ago. The union is holding a public meeting at Hoxton Hall on Tuesday of next week, with speakers including Natfhe general secretary Paul Mackney.
Lecturers in the Natfhe union at London Metropolitan were waiting for the result of our strike ballot this week as part of our dispute over contracts.
We have had several strike ballots and a number of strikes over this issue. Talks at the Acas negotiating service have broken down. Activists are arguing for sustained strike action if the ballot is won.
Mark Campbell, London Metropolitan Natfhe