LAMBETH College UCU strikers held a lively picket and rally yesterday, on the last strike day of 2014 and stressed their determination to carry on their fight in the New Year.
Mandy Brown, UCU Branch Secretary, addressing the rally, said: ‘This is the last day of the last week of action before the break.
‘We’ve seen a change in the students who are staying away from classes to support our strike and our message to the college management is that we are coming back for you in January.’
The rally was also addressed by Jeremy Hardy, the well-known comedian, who came specially to support the strikers and highlighted the importance of the jobs that the lecturers do.
He said: ‘If I do a bad job people have lost £15 and my ego is bruised, but you have people’s whole futures in your hands.
‘If Silverman (college principal) goes away no-one would really notice. Management don’t actually add value, unlike the workers who do all the essential jobs.’
Simon Clarke, a UCU member at the Clapham site, said: ‘The feeling at the core of the dispute is still as strong as ever.
‘The support from around the country has given us the strength to continue.
‘The management have imposed the new contracts on new starters but we are sticking to our principles. We don’t want a two-tier workforce.
‘We fought for national terms and conditions. This is a local strike of national significance.
‘We’ve had support from the RMT, Aslef, John McDonnell MP, and workers from the defence industry and St Mungo’s charity.
‘We are defending our rights as workers and fighting for the community to make sure people have a second and third chance of an education and the services that go with it.’
Unison shop steward Jim Delaney, said: ‘Our dispute still continues and we are consulting our members over resuming the strike in the New Year.’
Amy Cook, UCU member, said: ‘It’s getting to the point where there needs to be some resolution.
‘The principal needs to come and talk to us. We believe so strongly that we are right that we can’t give up.
‘What they are doing is part of the drive to run education as a business rather than as a service within the community.’