Thousands of lecturers, supported by tens of thousands of students, were yesterday taking strike action against Labour government cuts and sackings at 11 colleges and three universities in London.
The campaign team for WRP Enfield North candidate, Anna Athow campaigned at the Enfield College Picket line.
Anna, a consultant surgeon is very well known for her four-year-long and continuing campaign to keep Chase Farm Hospital open.
Zoriana, 22, was picketing with the lecturers at Enfield College.
She told Anna : ‘The situation is very bad. I have been four years in the UK, and I work in a coffee shop and have a small child.
‘I’m doing accounting and English but they have changed the qualification. Before it was a high-level diploma, and now it is a lesser thing, a qualification certificate, so it is not so good.
‘As well, the prices go up, the wages are going down. I will support you in the election. I will vote for you.
‘You have to keep the public services in good condition. We cannot afford to go private, I want socialism.’
Courtney Francis, 18, said: ‘At the moment it is hard for us to get places, everything is being cut. There are very few facilities for A-Levels. This limits your options.
‘I have to do subjects that were not my first choice or I would have had to go further out with more travel expenses.
‘They should not make cuts in education. The unions should take action to defend the pubic services.
‘I would like to see socialism and a workers government and it must be soon.’
Athow told them: ‘I urge workers, youth and professionals to vote WRP.
‘Elsewhere vote Labour to keep the Tories out but with no illusions that Brown will do any other than serve the bankers.
‘The working class must prepare for a general strike to go forward to a workers government and socialism.’
The ‘Vote for Matt Linley (WRP)’ campaign in Feltham and Heston visited the picket lines at Richmond College yesterday morning.
Striking lecturers welcomed the team, took copies of Matt’s election address and explained what’s behind the strike.
Despina Marrow said: ‘We won’t accept the college principal’s plans to axe 80 out of the 400 lecturers.
‘It’s devastating for the workers and for the students.’
Annemarie O’Dwyer, UCU sociology lecturer, said: ‘There needs to be more of a united front.
‘We’ve got four different public sector unions here and we all need to work together.
‘When you look at the manifestos of all the parties, they are all planning massive cuts in services, jobs and wages.
‘All public sector unions need to unite in a public sector alliance.
‘This Friday the principal is apparently going to announce the cuts and where the axe is going to fall, where the redundancies are going to be made.
‘We are determined to resist them. Today’s the first strike day. There will be more to come.’
UCU members picketing Lewisham College told News Line they are determined to defend their members’ jobs and the education service to their students.
The college management are looking to make budget cuts that will lead to between 40 and a 100 compulsory redundancies amongst staff.
UCU Chair David Rawlings told News Line: ‘We are being accused of hurting students; that is being thrown back at us.
‘But the reason we are on strike is the colleges are not standing up to the government and fighting for the education they should be giving to their students.’