The fightback against cuts in pay, jobs and services continues as the bosses, backed by the government, attempt to make workers pay for their crisis.
Workers at eleven further education (FE) colleges in London are set to strike on Wednesday 5 May.
Lecturers at four universities —King’s College London, University College London, the University of Sussex and the University of Westminster— will join them.
They are uniting against cuts that would slash jobs, threaten courses and campuses with closure, and stop thousands of working class young people from getting an education.
Lecturers in the eleven colleges voted by an average of 76 percent for strikes.
“The results show the determination of lecturers not to put up with cuts,” said Sean Vernell, a member of the UCU national executive and lecturer at City and Islington College.
“Joint strikes will send a message to the employers and the government—we will not put up with you sacking teachers and wrecking young people’s lives.”
The UCU has called a national day of action for all colleges and universities in defence of jobs and education on the day. It is discussing co-ordinating a London wide protest.
The government wants to cut £340 million from the FE budget in the next year and plans to cut higher education (HE) funding by almost £1 billion. The Higher Education
Funding Council for England (Hefce) says this level of cuts has not been seen since 1997.
Alison Lord is a lecturer at Tower Hamlets College and women’s officer-elect for the UCU executive.
She said, “People here were delighted with the vote. It reflects our strong union branch—people are more confident after striking last year.”
According to HE minister David Lammy, “The fiscal stimulus over the last 18 months was necessary to keep companies in business and people in work.
“But both the taxpayer and the public sector must contribute to paying down our national debt.”
He says everyone has to do “their fair share of belt-tightening”. But he doesn’t think the banks have to tighten their belts. He tells us “we’re all in it together” while his government tries to force workers to pay for the crisis.
Jenny Sutton, a lecturer at the College of Haringey Enfield and North East London, is standing against Lammy as a TUSC candidate in the general election.
Around 100 Conel workers and students protested against planned cuts on Tuesday.
The strikes on 5 May will give a taste of the potential struggles to come, whichever party is elected on 6 May.
Colleges set to strike: Barnet, City and Islington, Greenwich, Hackney, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond Upon Thames, Tower Hamlets, Westminster Kingsway, Haringey Enfield and North East London and North West London
The UCU has called a London-wide protest on the day of the college strikes. Assemble 1pm 5 May at King’s College, on the Strand.
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