Lambeth College two-day strike will start tomorrow after college refuses talks

8 December 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU members at Lambeth College will walk out tomorrow (Tuesday) and on Wednesday as part of their on-going dispute over contract changes.

Last week the college asked UCU to suspend its action as Ofsted is inspecting the college this week. UCU offered to sit down and try to thrash out a resolution to the increasing bitter row, but the college refused the offer and sent out a press release asking UCU to suspend the action. The union said its offer of talks remains on the table, but this week's action remained on.

The row centres on new contracts introduced by the college without consulting the union. UCU has welcomed a commitment from the college that it will not impose the new contracts on staff employed before April 2014.

However, the union remains unhappy with the two-tier employment structure the contracts have produced and wants the new contract removed or a fresh one drawn up with the union's agreement.

More than four-fifths (83%) of UCU members who voted backed the call for action on a high turnout of 58%. In June, UCU members went out on strike for five weeks - the longest strike in the union's history. Last week, UCU members walked out for the first time since the summer and have vowed to continue escalating their action.

If no resolution is found they will walk out for three days next week (Monday 15, Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 December) and resume their protests in the New Year, culminating in all-out indefinite strike action from Monday 19 January. The current industrial action timetable is:

  • two days of strike action on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 December 2014
  • three days of strike action on Monday 15, Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 December 2014
  • two days of strike action on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 January 2015
  • three days of strike action on Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 January 2015
  • continuous strike action from Monday 19 January 2015.

UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'Last week the college asked us to suspend the action because Ofsted is in this week. We offered to meet to try and resolve the dispute. The college refused our offer and published a press release asking us to cancel the action for the duration of the Ofsted inspection.

'We have little interest in a phoney media war, we want to resolve the dispute. We believe the best way to do that is through negotiation. Our offer to meet is still on the table.'

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