Staff at Lambeth College overwhelmingly back strike action in contracts row

24 March 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Members of UCU at Lambeth College have overwhelmingly voted for strike action in a row over proposed changes to terms and conditions.

A massive 95% of staff who voted backed the call for industrial action. The union said it will be speaking to local members and expected to announce strike plans in the next day or so. UCU added that, while it hoped major disruption could be avoided, such an enormous mandate for strike action from members, on a 70% turnout, demonstrated just how bad things had got at the college.

The dispute relates to the college's desire to push through 'punitive' changes to the terms and conditions of new staff. Under the proposals new staff would see their workloads increase, but their sick pay and holidays cut.

UCU said the changes would leave some Lambeth staff working longer hours than all but three of London's 38 further education colleges. The union said a system where staff had different contracts, hours and benefits would do little to enhance staff morale. It added that there were fears the college would seek to impose the new contracts on existing staff in the future.

UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'Lambeth College cannot expect to simply force through punitive changes to staff's terms and conditions. This ballot result demonstrates just how unhappy staff are at the college's plans. They won't sit by and accept attacks on their sick pay and holiday entitlement while their working hours creep up to some of the longest in London.

'We hope that strike action and major disruption won't be necessary and if Lambeth College was unsure about how unpopular its plans were, it shouldn't be in any doubt now. The college needs to sit down with us to talk through any changes to staff contracts. Attempts to railroad them through against staff's wishes will be met with strong resistance.'

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