Union warns of indefinite walk-out beginning in two weeks unless college resolves contracts dispute

UCU members on strike at Lambeth College, December 2014. Pic by Tim Lezard

UCU members on strike at Lambeth College, December 2014. Pic by Tim Lezard

UCU members at Lambeth College today begin a two-day strike in the latest part of their ongoing dispute over contract changes.

The deadline to avoid all-out strike action is fast-approaching, with union members at the college set to walk out indefinitely from January 19th.

This week’s two-day walkout follows on from six days’ action in December. There is a three-day walkout planned next week (January 13th to 15th) and the all-out action will begin on Monday 19 January if no agreement can be reached.

Staff will be on the picket lines at the Clapham, Brixton and Vauxhall sites from 7am. 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.

UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: ‘We are now less than a fortnight away from indefinite strike action at Lambeth College. As ever, we remain keen to resolve this dispute without further disruption. However, the college needs to come back to the table and make a real effort to negotiate properly with us. The clock is ticking towards indefinite strike action’

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 walked out for five weeks – the longest strike in the union’s history.

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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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