UCU members take action in their ongoing dispute over contract changes

Tim Lezard Education (EI), UCU, UK unions, Unison,

UCU LambethUCU members at Lambeth College today start a three-day strike in their ongoing dispute over contract changes.

The latest industrial action takes the number of days lost to strike action this month up to six, with the threat of an indefinite walkout to come after the Christmas break. Staff will be on the picket lines at the Clapham, Brixton and Vauxhall sites from 7am.

A demonstration will take place at 12pm outside the Clapham Centre. Speakers include comedian Jeremy Hardy and UCU and UNISON reps.

The row centres on new contracts introduced by the college without consulting the union. UCU has welcomed a commitment from the college that it will not impose the new contracts on staff employed before April 2014.

However, the union remains unhappy with the two-tier employment structure the contracts have produced and wants the new contract removed or a fresh one drawn up with the union’s agreement.

More than four-fifths (83%) of UCU members who voted backed the call for action on a high turnout of 58%. In June, UCU members went out on strike for five weeks – the longest strike in the union’s history. Last week, UCU members walked out for the first time since the summer and have vowed to continue escalating their action.

If no resolution is found they resume their protests in the New Year, culminating in all-out indefinite strike action from Monday 19 January.

UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “UCU members at Lambeth College are determined to defend their contracts and the contracts of new staff. They do not accept the two-tiered nature of the contracts the college wants to bring in and have made it quite clear they are prepared to take serious industrial action to resolve the dispute.

“The time has surely now come for the college to come back to the negotiating table and get this matter sorted. If they continue to refuse to talk to us then we risk seeing all-out indefinite strike action from next month.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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