On 1 May, UCU members at Lambeth College in South London will begin indefinite strike action to block attacks on their conditions.
These attacks include increased working and contact hours, cuts to annual leave, additional duties for no extra pay, reduced redundancy notice and drastically reduced sick pay.
Management are attempting to impose the new contracts on new workers, current staff who are promoted, and hourly-paid staff. They have also said that these new conditions may be rolled out to cover all staff.
Unison members, part of the Lambeth Council branch, are also balloting, but are not yet ready for action due to foot-dragging by the union's regional machine. There is a community campaign supporting the workers, which is also fighting against management’s plans to sell of most of the college's Brixton site.
In a Further Education sector being devastated by cuts, frequent restructuring and huge workloads and pressure on staff, this is an extremely significant dispute. We need to mobilise solidarity to help the Lambeth workers win.
You can donate to the strike fund. 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
Messages of solidarity, requests for speakers etc, to UCU branch secretary Mandy Brown
Crown Post Office deal
The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) has settled the long-running dispute involving its members in Crown Post Offices, which has involved several strikes since it began over a year ago.
Workers will receive a 7.3% pay rise over three years, with an immediate 3.9% increase backdated to 1 April 2014, which will be paid as a £2,300 lump sum.
CWU officials described the Crown Post Office pay fight as “one of the most protracted disputes this union has ever been involved in.”
SOAS cleaners win
Cleaning workers at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) in central London are celebrating a victory after workers voted to accept an offer from their employer, ISS, which significantly improves their terms and conditions.
The deal, which was won after a years-long campaign and three days of strikes, guarantees 27 days’ annual leave, six months’ full sick pay, and access to an ISS pension scheme with increased employer contributions. These represent significant material gains for workers who previously had access to statutory rights only.
Worker activist Lenin Escudero said: “We would like to share with you our joy that overwhelms us right now that we have won the first battle towards equality and justice because we have won improved holidays, sick pay, and pensions for all ISS staff.”
The workers, who are members of Unison, have vowed to continue their struggle for full equality between outsourced and directly-employed staff.