Tower Hamlets Day Of Action Called

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Determined striking lecturers on their picket line outside Tower Hamlets College yesterday
Determined striking lecturers on their picket line outside Tower Hamlets College yesterday

Striking lecturers at Tower Hamlets College in East London yesterday called on other trade unions and colleges to join their Day of Action next Tuesday.

Their union, the University College Union (UCU) has backed the day of action in support of their Tower Hamlets members who are on indefinite strike against sackings and course cuts.

The lecturers yesterday entered their second week of strike action against the axeing of thirteen teaching staff under management proposals to make financial savings.

The funding cuts also mean that around 1,000 places on courses for English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) are at risk.

The UCU said the planned cuts fly in the face of new government initiatives which call on local authorities to prioritise ESOL and fund courses for vulnerable and hard to reach groups.

Speaking in a personal capacity on the picket line yesterday, UCU Branch Secretary Mark Winter said the strike was ‘rock solid’.

‘People are feeling stronger than ever and it is growing,’ he told News Line.

‘We are not weakening and not backing down – we are resolute!’

Amid the beeping of drivers’ horns, Winter said that their action is winning huge support from the local community and from other trade unionists, including firemen, postal workers, other colleges and schools.

He added: ‘We are calling on the support of the other trade unions and other schools to join us on our day of action next Tuesday.’

The strike action was targeted to coincide with the first day of enrolment at the college, but the lecturers have continued to encourage students to enrol and support their right to education.

Supporting their lecturers on the picket line yesterday, Hair and Beauty students Jamie Knowles and Christie Thomas said they backed their teachers ‘100 per cent’.

‘It is important to support our teachers; we need them to get the knowledge so we can get decent jobs,’ said Jamie.

‘And you can’t get a good job without good qualifications, which are even harder for youth to get now they are cutting university places.’

Christie added: ‘We need to get rid of bankers who waste our money instead of getting rid of our teachers!’

UCU head of further education Barry Lovejoy said: ‘We need to stand up for education and to stand up for the most vulnerable people in the area.’