All out for USS

Lewisham Southwark College staff to strike over job losses and campus closure

3 June 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Staff at Lewisham Southwark College will be out on strike tomorrow (Thursday) in protest at plans to axe 112 jobs by the end of this term and close the college's Camberwell campus.

Members of UCU at the college's four campuses in Lewisham, Deptford, Camberwell and Waterloo will take action.

They will be on picket lines at all the college's main gates from 7:30am. Many staff and students will gather on a picket line outside the main entrance on Lewisham Way and then make their way to a rally starting at 11am in Friendly Gardens.

(UCU) members who took part in the ballot, voted overwhelmingly (85%) in favour of industrial action. The college management has blamed government cuts but UCU believes there has been a failure to fully explore alternative solutions.

Lewisham Southwark picket Jun 2015

UCU regional official, Una O'Brien, said: 'We believe that by working together, we can find a way out of this crisis and avoid these devastating job losses and the closure of a key community asset that has given many locals a chance to get back into education.

'We want the college governors and managers to meet with us and explore alternative ways forward to this knee-jerk reaction, which will see so many job losses. Of course no one wants to take strike action but staff have reached the point where they feel they have no other option. Unless we can get a guarantee of no compulsory job losses, more action will be in the pipeline.'

It has been a difficult week for the troubled south London college. On Tuesday, it was revealed that it had discriminated against a blind disability officer. An employment tribunal ruled the college had failed to take "obvious steps" to address the staff member's need and put him at considerable disadvantage compared to his peers.

The college came under fierce criticism last year following news that it was scrapping a £300,000 rebrand to call itself LeSoCo. The colleges said it was ditching the new name and branding because it was "ambiguous and not recognisable as a college".