Lambeth College staff plan 'indefinite' strike action next week

27th May 2014 at 17:02

The principal of Lambeth College said it is “regrettable” that members of the University and College Union are planning to start indefinite strike action next week.

Mark Silverman told TES that while he was confident the college would remain open during the strike, he was concerned about the possible disruption to students.

The UCU announced today its members at Lambeth College would start indefinite strike action next Tuesday in an ongoing dispute over changes to staff contracts.

Last week 89 per cent of its members who voted backed the call for industrial action, on a turnout of 72 per cent.

The dispute centres on the college’s introduction last month of contracts for new staff joining after 1 April 2014, which UCU claims will leave them with bigger workloads, but less sick pay and fewer holidays.

But college says the changes are necessary to gradually bring about modernisation and change as well as help it reduce its “unsustainable” budget deficit of £3.5 million.

Mr Silverman told TES: “It is regrettable that at this critical time of the year the UCU is not being mindful about the potential damage to students.

“We will be doing everything we can to keep the college open and make sure classes take place and students can continue their studies.

“We don’t want unnecessary disruption to students, and we are open to seeking dialogue to try to achieve that.

“We are always open to meaningful dialogue, but we have made it very clear as to why the college needs to introduce the new contracts – it’s about the college being fit for purpose and having flexibility. The college has to secure its long term future.”

UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “UCU members will walk out next week and they have made it crystal clear that they will stay out for as long as it takes.”

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