Plumber students to join staff on picket lines at Hackney Community College

30 April 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Staff will be joined by students dressed as plumbers on picket lines outside Hackney Community College on 5 May in protest at the college's decision to close over two-thirds of its oversubscribed plumbing department.

The day's strike action, organised by UCU, will see staff walk out at 11 further education colleges and three universities across the capital*.
 
The plumbing tutors and their students will be on the picket line at Falkirk Street from 11.30am to 1.00pm. There will be UCU members on the picket line from 8.30am in the morning.
 
Although plumbing at the college will be the hardest hit, there are proposed cuts across the board. The college is looking to make a 14% cut in staffing, which will severely reduce the number of courses the college can run next year. Plumbing courses have been consistently oversubscribed at the college.
 
The union warned today that not only do the cuts mean job losses, but also that Hackney residents will need to travel out of the borough to try their luck on oversubscribed courses at other colleges. The union said that boroughs with already high unemployment rates, such as Hackney, desperately need investment in education to give people on the dole the best chance of learning the new skills they need to transform their lives.
 
UCU said the example of student Victoria Hampshire highlights the problem so many Hackney students will face. Victoria is a plumbing student at Hackney Community College who waited two years for the chance to study. Although she's willing to pay the remaining fees to complete the course and qualify, Victoria's progression into employment at Hackney may not happen if the cuts go ahead. If the cuts are implemented, she would have to compete with hundreds of others hoping for a place on the few remaining courses in the capital to qualify.
 
UCU representative at Hackney Community College, Rose Veith, said: 'We strongly oppose the college's redundancy and restructuring plans. The last thing Hackney needs is bigger class sizes, fewer course options, a massive hike in course fees and staff losing their jobs. At a time of such high unemployment, what the borough desperately needs is more education opportunities.'

*The 11 London further education colleges where UCU members are striking on Wednesday are:
Barnet College
City and Islington College
College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
College of North West London
Greenwich Community College
Hackney Community College
Lambeth College
Lewisham College
Richmond upon Thames College
Tower Hamlets College
Westminster Kingsway College
 
The three London universities where UCU members are striking on Wednesday are Westminster University, University College London and King's College London (at King's they will be on strike on both Wednesday and Thursday). There is also strike action at the University of Sussex on Wednesday.

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