8 July 2013
Around 100 people including teaching and support staff from Lambeth College UCU and Unison, along with students and local community supporters, took part in a rally outside the Clapham campus at lunchtime last Thursday. The rally confirmed the intention of staff to defend all jobs and oppose all compulsory redundancies and also to oppose a graded appraisal system that is unnecessary and divisive.
Lambeth staff have been in dispute with the college since May when management announced funding cuts of £3 million pounds and around 42 compulsory redundancies.
UCU members won a ballot for industrial action over the job losses and held a demonstration in Brixton on Saturday 15th June. Speakers rally included author Alex Wheatle, Lee Jasper, the Green Party, and teachers from City and Islington, Croydon and ChesterfieldColleges.
Lambeth College management also announced an increase in fees for students on benefits or in low-paid work. Following representations to management by staff and ESOL students, the college has now reversed this decision.
The fees would have had a negative impact on recruitment as well as denying access to learning English for those that most need it. Fees will now revert to the same as last year, and is a victory for all the ESOL students who would not have been able to return to college to continue their studies in September.
There is a further day of strike action planned for this Thursday 11th July. Staff are seeking a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies. With the £1 million the college has now saved through the loss of 26 jobs, staff believe management can now easily provide a guarantee for the remaining posts.
Video of rally on Saturday 15th June in Brixton: