Lambeth College to shut down courses for most vulnerable students unless union capitulates

9 July 2014




date: Wednesday 9 July 2014

for immediate release

The principal of Lambeth College has threatened to axe courses for disabled students and foreign speakers wishing to learn English (ESOL) if the University and College Union (UCU) does not accept his proposals to amend contracts for new staff.

UCU members had been on strike at the college since Tuesday 3 June in the longest running strike in the union’s history, but returned to work today (Wednesday). However, they have said they will ballot to go back out on strike in the autumn term if the dispute is not resolved.

The union said that if Mark Silverman went through with his threat it would be a hammer blow for the local community, as well as causing major financial problems for the college. The college currently gets around 40% of its income from ESOL courses alone.

The union said its members would not be bullied by outlandish threats from Mark Silverman, but remained hopeful a resolution could be found without the need for further strike action in the autumn. UCU said there was a window of opportunity that both sides should use to break the current impasse.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “I would urge Mark Silverman to step back from his appalling threat and use the current window of opportunity to work with us to resolve this dispute. I am stunned the college is prepared to use some of the most vulnerable people in society to try and force decent hardworking staff to accept its changes.

“We are sure other members of the community will share our outrage and we will be writing to local councillors and MPs to warn them of his dangerous proposal.”


Dan Ashley t: 020 7756 2600; m: 07789 518 992; e:

Jenny Sherrard t: 020 7756 2596; m: 07581 186 516; e:

Will Pickering t: 020 7756 2638; m: 07581 186 517; e:


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