Teaching staff at Lambeth College began an all-out strike on 3 June 2014.
The workers are fighting new contracts which attack pay and conditions and which would affect all new workers and create a two-tier workforce at the college. These are contracts that college bosses are looking to impose across the further education sector.
Picket lines will be at all three college sites, and both of the college unions are encouraging solidarity visits from local students and workers.
UCU members backed the indefinite strike action by an 89% yes vote on a 72% turnout, in a second ballot called after the first was the subject of an injunction under the anti-trade union laws.
Unison members at the college have also voted for strikes and plan to start their action next week. They have produced a letter in support of strikers after college management tried to divide the staff and trade unions against each other.
Ruth Cashman, Unison Lambeth local government Branch Secretary said “We are fully behind the UCU. Our members want to be out and they stand in total solidarity with teaching staff. Unison members will strike alongside the UCU, unless the management back down on these proposals. The Principal has no interest in the future of the College beyond making a name for himself as a ‘modernising’ union buster.
“He has consistency sought to divide the workforce, sending increasingly bizarre diktats out to all staff attacking the unions and calling people to cross picket lines. He’s used the anti-union laws, he sought to bully his staff, but every time he comes for these workers, they just come back ready to fight on.”
If the unions at Lambeth College want to win the strikes against such a defiant management they will need to ensure their members are not forced back to work. UCU and Unison members should argue for a national strike levy. This dispute has national significance.
• Donations. Make cheques payable to J. Eldon and send to Mandy Brown c/o Lambeth Trades Council, Hambrook House, Porden Road, London SW2 5RW. Or transfer to: Halifax, Acc Name: J Eldon. Sort Code: 11- 01- 07. Acc No: 11242869