Taking action in higher education

Harlow lecturers gearing up for lunchtime rally

13 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Lecturers at Harlow College are holding a rally this lunchtime as part of their ongoing strike action this week.

Angry lecturers will congregate outside the gates of the College and at 12.15pm will march into Harlow town centre for a rally at the Obelisk.

Speakers at the rally will include Barry Lovejoy, head of further education at UCU, and Harlow College NUS representative, Victoria Bean, will speak in a personal capacity.

The three-day strike action started on Monday and was called in opposition to the imposition of a college plan which lecturers, and students, say threatens the quality of education at the college. Some lecturers face the prospect of a £13,000 cut in salary, a longer working week, an increased workload and shorter holidays. Some have already quit and others are considering doing so, with great regret.

This week's strike action follows two days of action on 24 and 25 May, which brought the college to a standstill and saw students mount a rooftop protests in support of their lecturers. College principal, Colin Hindmarch, is still declining to meet UCU national officials, despite an appeal by local MP Bill Rammell.

Instead of seeking to resolve the issue, the college has gone on the attack splashing thousands of pounds on newspaper advertisements and brought in a PR firm to try and repair the damage to its reputation. The union says the money and the reputation of the college could have been saved if the college would only negotiate with staff.

Barry Lovejoy, head of further education at UCU, said: 'Why Mr Hindmarch chose to splash out thousands of pounds on newspapers adverts and PR firms is a mystery to me. All he needed to do was negotiate with the union. If he continues his policy of refusing to talk to us he is going to have to find a very large public relations budget from somewhere.

'His actions are further demoralising his staff, and the local MP has already asked him to get back to the negotiating table to clear the mess up. Today's rally is another example of the defiance being showed by UCU members at Harlow, despite the menacing actions of the college. However, despite all this, we are ready and willing to talk and we are keen to restore the reputation of Harlow College. Students and lecturers at Harlow must hope that Mr Hindmarch finally is too.'