Posts Tagged ‘UCU strike’

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The dispute at Lambeth College is still ongoing. Please ask your union branch to support the campaign. A model motion is below:

Branch notes:

  • that in George Osborne’s recent spending review, FE has been hit the hardest
  • government cut to FE funding this year was 8% across the board
  • Lambeth College has had its biggest funding cut to date of £3m and teachers now face redundancies as well as course closures in valued departments including Construction and Business and IT

Branch believes:

  • education should be a prority especially now when millions of young people are unemployed
  • working class families should not have to pay the price for a financial crisis that they did cause, while those that are responsible see their wages increase, receive huge bonus payments and continue to avoid paying their taxes
  • Lambeth College plays an important role in the education of our community and must be defended


Branch resolves:

  • to send messages of solidarity to the college via Mandy Brown Branch Secretary
  • to urge members to support the college picket lines
  • to publicise as widely as possible the fight of UCU and Uniso members to defend courses and jobs at the college
  • to invite union members from Lambeth College to speak at our branch meeting
  • to organise a solidarity collection towards striking members hardship funds

We’ll be writing up more of these, a historic event deserves nothing less after all!

A friend posted on Facebook “If it wasn’t for trade unions kids wouldn’t be off school today – they’d be at work,” and I’ve been teaching the social history of London, so I can tell you what to read if you want to research whether this is true. In the Victorian days of laissez-faire when there was no social housing, no health care, no 8 hour day or worker protection or minimum wage or sick pay or holidays or workers compensation, when the free market proved just how devastating it could be, families literally starved to death if their children did not work. Many starved to death anyway. Old people hung themselves so as not to have to try and survive through another winter. Through struggle and the strength of unions we changed ALL of that, we won pensions to support ourselves with dignity in old age and not burden our children, do we really want to go back?

I do not, I will not. I started the day round the corner from my flat, stopping by the picket at Lambeth College. No one was teaching, and no students went in. It was lovely. The Olive Morris House was a bit more heartbreaking for me, a good picket but everyone who walked past hurt, and people did. One said he had a son to feed, but I don’t know who we are striking for if not our children (still unborn in my case, but that doesn’t matter), who will be the first generation to inherit a world in which they will be worse off than their parents. Unless we change the direction we are heading.

Then I went on to picket my own workplace at LSE, not the happy place of radical learning it once was to be sure, but even so, it was almost empty. There were a handful of students, a few people lecturing though I didn’t see their faces…probably the same ones doing their best to justify the government’s current actions. But I mostly saw picketers and the students who stood with us, and did a brilliant job of making the strike visible on campus. You feel immense solidarity with people standing with you on the picket line, I can’t describe how good it feels to stand together for a better future, in spite of the shared sacrifice…And beautiful people bring you donuts. I’m just sad I got carried away and didn’t manage any good pictures, especially of the little girl passing out leaflets with me and telling me just where I should stand. She was marvelous.

We had a teach out as everyone began to mass in Lincoln Inn’s Field, and UK Uncut were serving solidari-tea, it hit the spot! I met back up with some Lambeth SOS folks (the march was so big I didn’t see them all!) and there was much rejoicing and they filled me in on the other pickets and the gathering in Windrush Square…I was sorry to have missed it! But the Central London march was fantastic and diverse and wonderful, I tweeted

“Lambeth crew have arrived and this march is kicking off, It’s incredible and I’m so proud right now to be union #n30 #ucu

And I’m still proud, and it feels like the tide is turning and we can win…

–Andrea Gibbons

500 students and teachers from colleges all over London held a vibrant, noisy protest against cuts to ESOL funding outside Westminster at lunchtime, with massive teach-out, theatre workshops, outdoor games and singing lessons.

Refugees and students gathered round the megaphone to talk about why they need to learn English and how ESOL classes change their lives, before marching together to Downing Street to hand in the Save ESOL petition with 20,000 signatures, including Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach and Ken Livingstone.

The protest continued in the afternoon on the UCU demo from LSE and rally at Downing St. 1000 striking teachers and lecturers listened to speeches defending ESOL and multi-culturalism by Jeremy Corbyn MP, an ESOL teacher and 6 students from Hackney College and many others.

The photos and students’ words showed their determination and the day’s actions showed how ESOL students, teachers and refugee organisations across the country are not going to take this cut without a fight.

See more on nationwide ESOL protests and events round the country from BBC London on youtube

on the Action for ESOL website:

on Facebook:

Here are more pictures from the UCU strike and the picket lines at Lambeth College (and thanks to Mandy Brown for this post!):