Lecturers at Barnsley College were set to start a five-day strike on Friday of this week in defence of their union rep, Graham Mustin.
Graham is a joint secretary of the UCU union at the college. A series of strikes last term forced management to retreat on a raft of compulsory redundancies it wanted to impose.
But more than 50 lecturers have left, and management are determined to make Graham redundant.
Graham told Socialist Worker, “I’ve been really impressed with the response of union members. There was a fear that people wouldn’t want to keep fighting. But at our last union meeting there wasn’t that feeling there at all.
“I think management hoped people would give up. But announcing a five-day strike surprised them—and they are rattled by it.”
Graham has applied for another job at the college, and was waiting to hear if he had got the post as Socialist Worker went to press. “It shows that I could easily be redeployed at the college,” he said.
Delegations of workers from other unions have pledged to bring their banners to the picket lines on Friday. Students are also organising to take part and show their support for the strike.
And the union branch has called a protest for Saturday in Barnsley town centre. It urges workers and students from across the region to send delegations.
The march will assemble at 10.30am at Barnsley College on Eastgate.
The campaign also urgently needs donations to support strikers and enable them to take further action in defence of Graham.
A victory at Barnsley College would send a signal to bosses everywhere that they can’t simply sack workers and get away with it.
As Graham put it, “This dispute is about more than defending one person. It is about defending our union, jobs and education.”
Send messages of support to joint branch secretary Lee Short at [email protected]
To donate to the Hardship Fund send cheques payable to Barnsley College UCU to: Barnsley College UCU Hardship Fund, c/o 33 Western Street, Barnsley, S70 2BT
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