Lambeth College to be hit by wave of strikes

28th November 2014 at 11:00

Strike-hit Lambeth College is set to face a further wave of industrial action from members of the University and College Union (UCU) over the next two months.

Staff will walk out next Thursday (December 4) and then escalate action each week in the run up to Christmas, the union said.

It warned that if the dispute is not resolved by the end of the year, staff will pick up where they left off in January before walking out indefinitely from January 19.

The long-running row centres on new contracts introduced for new staff in April this year.

Although they will not be introduced for new staff members UCU is unhappy that the contracts have produced a “two-tier system”.

UCU members at the college walked out for six weeks in June and July, the longest strike action in the union’s history.

Last month its members overwhelmingly rejected two new offers put forward by the college to break the deadlock.  

UCU regional official Una O’Brien urged the college to talk to the union and find a solution.

She said she hoped strike action, which would mean “major disruption”, was not necessary.

“The situation at Lambeth College is now very clear and the management cannot be in any doubt at how angry staff are about the new contracts,” she said.

In a statement, the college said it was adamant learners “cannot be made to suffer because of the irresponsible behaviour of a small number of staff”, and said it has “robust plans” to make sure learning can continue without disruption.

Principal Mark Silverman said he was “disappointed” UCU was calling its members out on strike again.

“We have given strong assurances over the last year that the new contract is for new staff, and that we will not be imposing it on existing staff, and I’m pleased that UCU are now acknowledging this,” he said.

A number of existing staff have already volunteered to transfer to the new contract and accept the incentives that UCU declined last month, he claimed.

“With staff transferring to the new contract voluntarily, UCU more accepting of both the two-contract status and the College’s assurance of not imposing changes, and such a low turnout on the ballot, one has to wonder what further strike action hopes to achieve,” he added.


Related stories:

Striking staff 'determined to see college fail' claims principal – November 2014

Lambeth College row continues as UCU rejects new offer – October 2014

Lambeth College strikers return to work, but war of words continues – July 2014


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