by Sara Tomlinson
Lambeth college teachers have now been on strike for a total of 19 days. The strike has been very solid. Strikers have gone around the whole country and have now collected over £25,000 in solidarity money for the hardship fund. The picket lines are lively on all three sites. The strike has become more solid over the course of the four weeks. Members of Unison have also joined the strike for 5 days. The strike is over new contracts being introduced, but to add to the distress, people have been called up for interviews for their own jobs. Many of the key activists have been threatened with redundancy. 20 posts are being cut.
The principal, it was revealed last week, was given a 13% pay rise, yet is asking staff to take a cut in holidays, sick pay and to work longer for no extra money. The college is a vital resource for the local community in Lambeth and there is massive concern about the effect of these cuts on the education for the students.
Alongside this dispute, the college have sold off the majority of the Brixton site and there will be two free schools there instead. The most vulnerable students are the ones that rely on this site: ESOL students and LDD (learning difficulties) students.
This week there was a call for solidarity and many colleges held lunchtime protests and raised more funds. Colleges across the country are threatened with the same sort of cuts, which is why the Lambeth dispute has national significance.
Click here to visit the Lambeth strike’s website
Sara Tomlinson is Secretary of Lambeth NUT