WEA tutors’ victory

Workers’ Educational Association strike threat forces halt on jobs and conditions attack

A WEA tutor

Following eight hours of discussion through ACAS, Unite members at the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) have called off their planned seven days of strike action.

The WEA management had sought to impose a devastating restructuring without a hint of negotiation or consultation with Unite, the recognised union.

London Region staff (including all organisers, consolidated tutors, and admin-support staff) were placed at risk of redundancy, with current roles to be scrapped and replaced by new jobs – some on a lower grade and lower pay.

All staff at risk faced having to reapply for new jobs with no guarantee of success, and no management commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies. These proposals were formulated by management over a period of six months – January to June 2014 – and then presented to staff in June 2014 as a ‘done deal’.

Requests to management to engage in meaningful talks were ignored. The depth of anger and determination of WEA Unite members was revealed in the 85% support for industrial action!

The prospect of well-supported strike action, which would have been the first in its 111 year history, forced WEA management to withdraw its proposals and the at risk letters, and to agree to engage in full and meaningful consultation with Unite on any new proposals.

This is a major achievement by Unite members at the WEA who have remained solid in their commitment to ensure WEA remains true to its values of equality, democracy and justice.

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 16 October 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.