By Sadie Robinson
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Lambeth College lecturers set date of 3 June to start all-out strike against hated contracts

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Issue 2405
Students and lecturers have fought together
Students and lecturers have fought together (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Lecturers at Lambeth College are set to start an all-out strike on Tuesday of next week. 

The strike, by UCU union members, was backed by 89 percent on a 72 percent turnout.

Workers are fighting hated contracts imposed by bosses.

The contracts force them to work longer hours, cut sick pay and slash holidays. Workers struck against the attack on 1 May after bosses got an injunction against a planned all-out strike.

Since then, college principal Mark Silverman has made workers more angry. He initially said the new contracts would only apply to new staff and those who changed their job or hours.

But then he said existing workers would only be “protected” from the new contracts until August next year. College bosses have also unveiled fresh attacks on workers with plans for a wave of redundancies.

They plan to cut 20 full time equivalent posts—which will put 102 workers in a redundancy pool at risk of joblessness.

Mandy Brown is branch secretary of Lambeth College UCU. She told Socialist Worker, “Members are very angry about the assault on our college and our livelihoods.

“After attacks on our contracts and now redundancies on top of increasingly bullying management tactics and unbearable workloads, our members have very clearly said ‘enough is enough, this has to stop’.”


Science teacher Laura told Socialist Worker, “I’ve worked here for 15 years and things have got worse, especially with this new principal. In my department we’d been without a manager for two years.

“Now we’ve finally got one—but she’s been told it’s temporary and the job is being advertised again.

“They just think they can bring anyone in to do the job and it will be alright—but it won’t. They’re driving out experienced staff.”

Angus has worked at Lambeth College for over 25 years. He told Socialist Worker, “Management keep going on about how our terms and conditions are so wonderful. 

“But teachers deserve good conditions. And anything we have is only because we have a strong union.”

For many workers in other unions, the fight at Lambeth College is their fight too. 

Sara Tomlinson, a NUT union member in Lambeth, said, “Lots of school students can’t cope with the testing regime teachers are forced to deliver.

“We need colleges that offer a second chance to people. This is about defending education. And the attacks on conditions are what Michael Gove wants to do to us.”

Workers can win this dispute. An all-out strike at Tower Hamlets College in 2009 beat the threat of compulsory redundancies. 

More recently workers have won victories at Edinburgh College and at Hovis in Wigan—by taking strong action and refusing to back down.

It is vital that every trade unionist gets behind the strike. 

As the Tories and the bosses prepare for more attacks, a victory at Lambeth College would show workers everywhere that they can fight and win.

Rush solidarity messages and requests for strikers to speak in your workplace or campaign group to [email protected]

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