‘TRADE unions must call a general strike to kick out this Tory government,’ Chris Anglin, College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) UCU chair said yesterday morning, addressing a powerful 50-strong UCU picket assembled outside the format of the college.
Supporters brought banners from Unite Community branch, Haringey and Barnet branch and Haringey Trade Union Council and PCS civil servants union.
Speakers included Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn and Janet Farrar, UCU President elect.
Anglin continued: ‘The elephant in the room is the Tory government. I agree with Jeremy Corbyn that all campaigns must be brought together. The UCU strikers are saying that management are just puppets but we have to target the puppeteer and bring down the Tory government to win our strike.’
Janet Farrar told the rally: ‘The government is marketing education. FE (Further Education) students are becoming a commodity worth £4,500 a head. The government funding for FE students is £4,500 per head. FE trains students without other opportunities.
‘FE means so much to me personally too. I did my teacher training at an FE college.
‘We need to improve pay and conditions. We are asking for a reasonable pay increase. UCU lecturers get paid £9,000 less than school teachers for the same work.
‘FE is now not a good place to work and teachers are leaving in droves. We have to keep strong to win this strike.’
Labour MP Corbyn said addressing the rally: ‘All campaigns must come together and the trade unions must make demands. We give our support to the unions and the education sector.
‘We are mobilising to bring our campaigns together.’
Barry James, recently graduated from CONEL told News Line: ‘I have just finished a trade union course. We think the UCU are doing a great job. FE provides the skills that we need for re-skilling the country and to stop wage compression.
‘Every section is affected by the government. I absolutely support the call for a general strike.’