LECTURERS were on strike at Lewisham and Southwark College yesterday over 112 sackings because of the closure of the Southwark site in Camberwell, southeast London.
The 112 job cuts include the Lewisham Way and Deptford sites. There was a lively picket outside the Lewisham site by 25 lecturers and students.
Brad Grisdale, a UCU rep and lecturer, told News Line: ‘This strike is about jobs. There are lots of compulsory redundancies, which we are opposed to. The management have plans to sell off the Southwark site. This means that most of Southwark will have no access to further education. We are getting lots of support from Further Education Colleges around the country. Further education is under threat everywhere. In all, there are at least 112 jobs at risk.’
An English lecturer and UCU rep Joe said: ‘I think that it is appalling that we have such a right-wing management team doing the Tories’ dirty work for them when they do not have to. I honestly do not know how they sleep at night.’
Dyslexia Support lecturer Margo added: ‘The management are very derogatory towards the union about the strike. They claim that this could be responsible for the lack of students’ success.’ UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: ‘We really need the college to start listening to its staff before any serious decisions about the future are made.’
David Kimmins UCU member from Camberwell was on the picket at the Waterloo site. He told News Line: ‘The planned closure of the Camberwell site is just one example of the management’s attempt to save money, without any thought for the needs of the community.’
• Lecturers and support staff from London Metropolitan University rallied on their second one-day strike yesterday demanding an end to the cuts and 165 staff redundancies at the LMU, declaring their total opposition to any compulsory redundancies.
Union banners at the rally included LMU UCU and LMU Unison, SOAS, Birkbeck College and PCS National Gallery Branch. David Hardman, UCU membership secretary, told the rally that, ‘There are strike actions all over the place and we need to take collective action. We want no cuts. Even voluntary redundancies leave more work for the rest of us. People are already dropping like flies. The management have removed stress preventative measures from the university. Following years of cuts, we are now half the size we were 10 years ago.’
Speaking earlier on the picket line at Holloway Road campus, Hardman told News Line that the current cuts are the 13th round of redundancies at the LMU. ‘We have been in talks with the governors but they have failed to guarantee no compulsory redundancies.’
Alex Tarry, a striking Unison steward at Holloway, said: ‘Since 2000, we have lost around one third of staff. Eighteen months ago there were 80-90 job cuts. Another 10-15 jobs are going now. They will come again – this is not the last round of cuts. We have to do something. I would support occupations and a general strike to stop the closures and time is of the essence.’