Lecturers at Lambeth College in south London have won significant concessions in their struggle against cuts in pay and leave entitlement and increases in working hours. The UCU branch statement says:
“After 42 days of strike action Lambeth College UCU have voted to go back to work after management finally made us an offer that was acceptable. We took strike action to stop a new, draconian contract being imposed on existing members of staff and new starters. Thanks to the determination of our branch, we have ensured that 430 out of 530 staff can now go into work knowing that their terms and conditions are fully protected. The new contract will not be imposed on existing staff. This deal is for all permanent, hourly-paid and fixed-term staff, even if they change their working patterns in the future. This is a magnificent achievement.”
The branch “did not stop management introducing these new contracts for new staff but [did win] a significant concession for them on sick pay in the first year of employment and also won back a week of additional teaching they were being asked to take on”.
The branch’s statement pledges to “continue to campaign to bring up those new members of staff who are on an inferior contract to the conditions that the majority of staff are on at the college. We will also continue to campaign alongside our sisters and brothers who are fighting similar attacks at Barnsley, Sheffield, CONEL and Lewisham Colleges and in the NHS… We borrowed a slogan from colleagues in Edinburgh when they were in dispute last year, ‘The conditions that lecturers teach in are the conditions that students learn in’. From the beginning, every one of us who went on strike over defending our contacts knew that at the heart of this dispute lay the defence of education in our community.”
Lambeth College UCU received nationwide support for their stand and have thanked all those who gave money, sent messages and came on pickets and demos.