Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/333/5627
Leicester Lecturers On Indefinite Strike
LECTURERS AT Leicester College are out on indefinite strike. The FE College is imposing new contracts that cut holidays, push through Saturday working and worsen conditions of service.
Lecturers' union NATFHE, sees it as an attack on union rights because the changes were not negotiated with them. The college say they are 'voluntary' but they will be imposed on all new posts and anyone who changes jobs within the college.
Members of Leicester Socialist Party spoke to workers on the picket lines. At the St Margaret's site Tony Wightman, NATFHE member said:
"We are not asking for anything other than what we agreed when we accepted our positions. We signed a contract with the college and they want to tear it up".
Kate Drew NATFHE branch secretary said: "They are introducing a non-negotiated contract. We tried to negotiate but they would not shift from a position of worsening our conditions. They want to remove four days of holiday entitlement, bring in unlimited Saturday working and take out the protection on the number of hours we teach.
"The response has been incredible. The college was claiming that all lessons were 'covered' but classes are cancelled and those students who have turned up are leaving again. We have even had students standing alongside pickets, with placards supporting the strike.
"Management have over-reacted - telling us to take placards off the premises and putting security all over the place. Highly paid managers are out on every door to greet students when they arrive!
"Management representatives complained that there were too many pickets, saying there should only be six and threatened to call the police.
"We have had to fight the college to get pay owed to part-timers for up to three months, yet they could offer a bribe of a £1,800 one-off payment to staff who signed the new contract before Christmas! It is not worth losing holidays and worsening conditions for life in return for a one-off payment."
Arum, a student on an English as a second language course was on the Abbey Park site picket line with a number of fellow students: "If the lecturers don't oppose these things there will be more attacks in the future. We want to support the lecturers because they support us".
Strike committee member
Siobhan Logan said: "Support is already coming in from other unions. We visited the PCS picket lines to support them and they are supporting us in return. The FBU phoned us to ask what they could do. The postal workers refused to cross the picket lines and just turned around. We have circulated trades unions with collection sheets."
Messages of support and donations would be appreciated and can be sent to Siobhan Logan, 22 Kensington Street, Leicester. firstname.lastname@example.org
In The Socialist 7 February 2004:
War and occupation
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis