‘HANDS OFF OUR JOBS, WAGES AND PENSIONS’ – Lecturers warn the Tory Lib-Dems

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Lambeth College lecturers, students and supporters fighting vicious budget cuts
Lambeth College lecturers, students and supporters fighting vicious budget cuts

On the eve of today’s budget, striking lecturers told News Line they are determined to defend their pay, pensions and jobs against the Tory-led coalition.

At the University of the Arts London, Elephant and Castle site picket line, University and College Union (UCU) member, associate lecturer Paul Glavey, told News Line: ‘I’m here in support of my colleagues who have been made redundant and those under threat of redundancy in the future.

‘We have to defend jobs and defend education.’

Yesterday’s strike took place as part of a joint Day of Action by education and student unions.

Louis Hartnell, University of the Arts SU president-elect, was on the lecturers’ picket line.

He said: ‘I’ve been involved in the campaign against the cuts for a year now.

‘I feel it is vitally important for students and lecturers to unite.

‘I personally would like to see an all-out strike across all the university unions.

‘All the unions have to act together against the cuts.’

UCU member Peter Shea, a course director and senior lecturer, added: ‘My course has just been cut.’

Leafletting outside South bank University, Unison member, clerical worker Adele Carden, told News Line: ‘We feel the budget is going to be terrible.

‘We have to put as much energy as we can into defending education.

‘We say no to the cuts.

‘We will have no other option but to take strike action.’

South bank University UCU branch committee member Steve Freeman added: ‘The whole situation has been caused by the “banksters”, who bankrupted the country and are now trying to get the money off the public sector, with the help of their government.

‘Public sector unions must cooperate and take industrial action together.’

UCU branch secretary at Chelsea, Philip Courtenay, told News Line: ‘We are on strike for three reasons.

‘Firstly, management is not following the university’s own policy on course closures.

‘Secondly, the treatment of staff whose jobs have been identified as “at risk’’ has been appalling.

‘Thirdly, the redundancy issue is relating to staff employed after 2003 who are on different contracts.

‘The expected budget cuts will be the biggest in living memory’, PCS Deputy General Secretary, Chris Baugh, said when he spoke to the UCU, Unison and Unite rally in Brixton yesterday.

As many as 200 staff, students and supporters gathered yesterday outside Lambeth College to march down Brixton High Street, saying the action was just one of many to come against swingeing budget cuts.

Baugh said: ‘This action is just a taste of what will be necessary when you see the budget cuts.

‘We have to explode the myth that cuts in public services are necessary and inevitable.

‘On the contrary, they will increase unemployment, hit the poorest citizens and damage the economy.

‘We are calling on all public sector unions to cooperate very closely across the regions and at local level.

‘By working together we can challenge what is basically a very unstable government.’

Keith Joyce, a technician at Lambeth College, said: ‘The general atmosphere is that public services have to be defended no matter what!’

Joanna said: ‘I wish people that belong to unions would come out on strike in all the colleges. We have to stick together. I think we should go for the Greek factor and all come out together.’

Angus Pickthall lectures 16-18 year olds. He said: ‘If they take EMA away they will destroy the initiative the last government took to get unemployed youth off the streets, and back into education.

‘It is a big incentive to support their learning’.