Further strikes and ballots at London colleges this week

29 April 2019

UCU members at Lambeth College and New City College will be on strike this week as industrial action ballots open elsewhere in the capital in the fight for better pay and conditions.

Staff at Lambeth College are on strike today, tomorrow and Wednesday. They will be on picket lines at the main entrances to the Clapham site on Clapham Common Southside and on Brixton Hill at the Brixton site from 8am tomorrow and Wednesday.

They will be joined on strike tomorrow by their colleagues at the Poplar and Arbour Square campuses of New City College as they also stage a three-day walkout (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). They will be on picket lines outside the campuses' main entrances on Poplar High Street and Arbour Square.

A strike ballot at Croydon College opens today (Monday) and closes on Friday 17 May. Then on Thursday, UCU members at the Hackney campus of New City College will be balloted for strike action in a poll that closes on Tuesday 21 May.

The dispute centres on the failure of colleges to make a decent pay offer to staff who have seen the value of their pay decline by 25% over the last decade. UCU said strike action was always a last resort but if the colleges wanted to avoid further disruption they should follow the likes of Capital City College Group and Hugh Baird College who recently agreed pay deals with the union.

UCU head of further education Andrew Harden said: 'Strike action is always a last resort, but unless colleges prioritise their staff they will face disruption. It is not acceptable for colleges to say finances are tight and nothing can be done. Other colleges have shown what can be achieved when they engage seriously with us on pay and conditions.'

The action is part of sustained nationwide campaign for fair pay in colleges. UCU members at nine English colleges walked out last month as part of a third wave of strikes after staff at 13 colleges walked out in January and UCU members at six colleges took action in November. The pay gap between teachers in colleges and schools currently stands at £7,000 and around two-thirds of college heads have said pay is a major obstacle in attracting staff.

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