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More staff to walk out at Lambeth College this week

10 June 2014

More members of staff will be out on strike at Lambeth College this week as disputes about changes to staff contracts show no sign of being resolved.

Members of UCU walked out indefinitely last Tuesday (3 June). They will be joined tomorrow and Thursday by their colleagues from the trade union UNISON, who have backed a two-day strike.

There are pickets outside the college's main entrances in Clapham, Brixton and Vauxhall each morning. On Wednesday there will be a rally outside the college's Clapham site from 11am. Speakers include staff and students from the college and UCU's general secretary Sally Hunt.

UCU said that serious questions were now being asked about the judgement of the principal Mark Silverman who is still refusing to negotiate with the unions. Last Thursday Silverman held talks with UNISON who offered to call off their strike if the college would suspend the imposition of controversial new contracts.

Mark Silverman refused that offer, which UNISON said left them with no alternative but to join UCU on the picket lines. UCU has repeatedly offered to suspend its indefinite action for talks about changes to the contracts the college want to bring in for teaching staff.

Although the college wants to introduce slightly different contracts for teaching staff (members of UCU) and support staff (who are members of UNISON) the unions are unhappy that staff will have to work longer hours, have fewer holidays, work during the traditional college holidays, and have less sick pay.

UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'Things are getting worse at Lambeth College. UCU members walked out indefinitely last week and UNISON members are now joining them. The reason staff feel they have no alternative but to take strike action is because the college has failed to listen to them. It has introduced contracts with inferior terms and conditions and created a two-tier work force.

'We are happy to sit down to talks and get this dispute resolved. We will suspend our action to allow talks to happen as long as the college suspends the introduction of the contracts.'

In the UCU strike ballot, a massive 89% of members who voted backed the call for industrial action, on a very high turnout of 72%. Staff had already backed indefinite strike action in a previous ballot.

Last updated: 10 December 2015