Picket lines in Brixton and Clapham remained strong this week, as teaching staff at Lambeth College continue their strike. Wednesday 11 June and Thursday 12 June will see Unison members strike alongside their brothers and sisters in the University and College Union (UCU).
College workers are striking against a contract brought in by the college from April for new staff only, which will mean they work longer hours, will work during the traditional college holidays, and will have less sick pay. UCU members began an indefinite strike on 3 June. Students have received text messages telling them to stay away from College as their classes have been cancelled.
The College has used agency staff to try and reduce the impact of the strike. College management are attempting to divide the college unions. A spokesperson for the College said: “The impact of the new contract on Unison members is minimal.” Despite such attempts to pit worker against worker and union against union, workers at the college continue to stand together. Unison Branch Secretaries Ruth Cashman and Jon Rogers responded to statements by the College: “The College bosses are showing their complete lack of interest in the future of Lambeth College by their constant attacks on the workers’ representatives and attempts to divide their workforce against itself. We reiterate: we stand with our sister union the UCU in opposing detrimental terms and conditions for workers and the imposition of a two-tier workforce. Unison is asking members to take this action because the senior management at Lambeth College are refusing to negotiate on the terms of new contracts which they have imposed upon new starters since 1 April, and which threaten the interests of existing staff.”
A solidarity rally will take place on Thursday 12 June at 6pm. Strikers are asking supporters to show solidarity by visiting picket lines, and passing a motion of support in their student union or trade union branch.
They are also asking for donations. Cheques payable to Lambeth UNISON, 6a Acre Lane SW2 5SG.