Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/815/18802
Lambeth College indefinite strike
James Ivens, Lambeth Socialist Party
Lambeth College teachers in the lecturers' union UCU have entered their third week of indefinite strike action which started on 3 June.
Management at the further education college want longer hours, shorter holidays and slashed sick pay.
Throughout the dispute management has behaved in an extremely provocative fashion. Faced with this the workforce responded strongly with 89% of UCU members voting to back strike action, on a 72% turnout.
To go for an all-out strike in the current climate is a bold but risky strategy. It is essential that the trade union movement comes to the support of the strike in order to do all possible to ensure its victory. In particular the UCU should call a national one-day stoppage in solidarity with the Lambeth strikers.
Lambeth College support workers in Unison joined the strike for two days on 11 and 12 June, after lengthy wrangling over action. Unison activists have expressed frustration with the union's regional leadership.
The disputed changes were initially due to affect staff starting after April. Strikers oppose management creating a two-tier workforce.
But principal Mark Silverman has now made clear he wants a one-tier workforce: everyone on the bottom. After promising attacks would only affect new starters, he later said existing staff would be "protected" until August next year.
Over 100 workers face redundancy. But bullying principal and "chief executive" Silverman blithely spent £35,000 on a new office for himself!
Clearly rattled by UCU's action, Silverman's tactics are increasingly desperate. A High Court injunction on a petty technicality only delayed the strike. The latest derisory offer from management? Free sandwiches if you are prepared to scab!
Please send messages of support, requests for speakers and strike fund donations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In The Socialist 18 June 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Readers' comments and reviews