Lambeth College indefinite strike action ballot underway with protests in Brixton on Saturday

16 May 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

A dispute at Lambeth College over changes to working conditions is set to continue after talks aimed at avoiding further strike action collapsed this week,

UCU has confirmed that its members at the college are being balloted for strike action and there will be demonstration against the changes tomorrow in Brixton.

Protestors will assemble on Clapham Common near the Clapham Common tube station on Saturday from 11am before setting off at 12pm to Windrush Square in Brixton for a 1pm rally. The ballot for indefinite strike action closes on Friday 23 May.

Staff had already overwhelmingly backed indefinite strike action in a previous ballot. However, the college used anti-union laws to take UCU to court and force an injunction that only permitted a day's strike action.

Members took a one-day strike on Thursday 1 May and said the college's decision to go through the courts to stop them walking out indefinitely was likely to have hardened members' resolve.

The dispute centres on the college's introduction last month of new contracts for new staff joining after 1 April 2014 which will leave them with bigger workloads, but less sick pay and fewer holidays. UCU said the changes would leave new joiners working longer hours than all but three of London's 38 further education colleges.

UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'When staff are prepared to take indefinite strike action, it is because they are convinced a college has got things seriously wrong.

'We were surprised that Lambeth opted to employ anti-union laws to get the strike action ruled out on a technicality. The injunction may have stopped strike action in the short-term, but it is difficult to know what the long-term damage could be.

'As local people gear up for Saturday's protests, the time has come for the college to sit back down with us and work through these problems. Its actions so far have angered members and hardened their resolve in this fight.'

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