The principal of a London college at the centre of a bitter trade dispute said a minority of staff seem “determined to see the college fail” after they voted to strike again.
Members of the University and College Union at Lambeth College have voted in favour of further industrial action in an ongoing row over changes to staff contracts, it was announced this morning.
But the college said only 80 votes were cast in the ballot and 66 of those were in favour of the motion, just 26.4 per cent of the total 250 teaching staff at Lambeth.
Principal Mark Silverman said: “We are very disappointed with the ballot result. It’s clear that a small minority of staff seem determined to see the college fail, and have little regard for our learners, communities and local employers who deserve an outstanding college.
“I call on UCU to acknowledge that to take strike action when only a quarter of our teaching staff support it is reckless, and that irresponsible and unmerited strike action will achieve nothing, other than to undermine those improvements and jeopardise the future of the college.”
The ongoing dispute, which started after the college introduced new contracts for new staff in April, resulted in a six-week strike by a number of UCU members during June and July, the longest in the union’s history.
The college said it has no intention of introducing the new contract for existing staff.
It said the changes were necessary to bring about modernisation and help it reduce its “unsustainable” budget deficit of £3.5 million.
Last month UCU rejected two new options put forward by the college to break the deadlock.
Lambeth said it is “adamant” that learners cannot be made to suffer because of the “irresponsible behaviour” of a small number of staff, and has “robust plans” to ensure that lessons can continue without disruption.
UCU said it is consulting with local members and expects to announce strike plans in the coming days.
“We want to resolve this matter as quickly as possible and are ready to negotiate with the college leaders, but the support for renewed action must serve as a wake-up call to the college,” a spokeswoman said.
“It is clear that staff remain strongly opposed to the current proposals, and any attempts to railroad them through will meet strong resistance.”
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