After 42 days of strike action Lambeth College UCU have voted to go back to work after management finally made us an offer that was acceptable. We took strike action to stop a new, draconian contract being imposed on existing members of staff and new starters. Thanks to the determination of our branch, we have ensured that 430 out of 530 staff can now go into work knowing that their terms and conditions are fully protected. The new contract will not be imposed on existing staff. This deal is for all permanent, hourly-paid and fixed-term staff, even if they change their working patterns in the future. This is a magnificent achievement. We did not stop management introducing these new contacts for new staff but we have won a significant concession for them on sick pay in the first year of employment and also won back a week of additional teaching they were being asked to take on.
This could not have been achieved without you. We have received tens of thousands of pounds during the course of the strike. This enabled us to deal with the financial hardships that confronted some of our members, allowing them to stay out on strike and still be able to look after their families.
We were sent thousands of messages of support and photographs of people holding posters showing their support for our strike. Many of us were invited to speak at workplaces all over the country and were greeted with great generosity and kindness. We will never forget this support that was so important in keeping us going when the going got tough.
Please come and help us celebrate the end of our successful strike on Friday 30th January at the Bedford Arms in Balham – see the invitation here.
We will continue to campaign to bring up those new members of staff who are on an inferior contract to the conditions that the majority of staff are on at the college. We will also continue to campaign alongside our sisters and brothers who are fighting similar attacks at Barnsley, Sheffield, CONEL and Lewisham Colleges and in the NHS. We’ll be sending delegations, raising donations, visiting their picket lines and also taking our banner to the national Rage Against Racism demonstration on March 21st.
Many of the senior management team have now resigned. We hope that the new management team will want to work in a more collegiate fashion to enable our college to do what it does best – educate. We borrowed a slogan from colleagues in Edinburgh when they were in dispute last year, ‘The conditions that lecturers teach in are the conditions that students learn in’. From the beginning, every one of us who went on strike over defending our contacts knew that at the heart of this dispute lay the defence of education in our community. We have taken an important step in doing so and we could not have done it without your encouragement and support.
Once again – thank you.
Lambeth College UCU