Lambeth College has appealed to striking members of the University and College Union to get back to work and help it through an Ofsted inspection.
UCU members are due to take further industrial action at the London college on Tuesday and Wednesday next week in an ongoing row over new staff contracts. However, yesterday Ofsted notified Lambeth that its inspectors would be calling next week as part of their follow-up to the college’s inadequate inspection in 2012.
Lambeth management said the college had made “significant progress” since 2012, which was recognised by Ofsted in a follow-up visit last year, and expected to demonstrate further improvements in teaching, learning and support for learners next week.
Principal Mark Silverman said: “In light of the need for the college to secure the best possible outcome, we have asked UCU to call off their planned strike action. It is important that the whole college can unite to focus on learners and for Ofsted to see our dedicated and hard-working staff.
“I hope that UCU will see the importance of our Ofsted inspection in terms of securing the future of the College and will step back from further unnecessary and damaging action”.
The UCU said it responded to the request by offering to meet with the college to resolve the dispute, but this was refused.
A spokeswoman for the union said: “We have little interest in a phoney media war, we want to resolve the dispute. We believe the best way is through negotiation and our offer to meet is still on the table.”
Next week’s planned action is part of a wave of strikes that will escalate in the run-up to Christmas and continue in the New Year.
UCU has threatened that staff will walk out indefinitely from January 19 if the dispute is not resolved.
The long-running row centres on contracts introduced for new staff in April this year, which UCU says has 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. In October they overwhelmingly rejected two new offers put forward by the college to break the deadlock.
Lambeth College to be hit by wave of strikes – November 2014
Striking staff 'determined to see college fail' claims principal – November 2014
Lambeth College row continues as UCU rejects new offer – October 2014