Picket line boosted by support from students and unionists
LAMBETH College workers’ indefinite strike action against continued yesterday as picket lines swelled with further support from other union members.
Workers, students and supporters of Lambeth College united for a protest against new management’s attempts to reduce holiday and sick pay, as well as stretching working hours without improving salaries — “a protest that is strengthening the trade union movement.”
University and College Union (UCU) branch secretary Mandy Brown said: “We have been having more people coming out every single day and joining us.”
The picket resembled a festival as college technicians with Unison armbands held a barbecue and a book stall.
Hundreds of cars driving by beeped furiously in support.
UCU assistant general secretary Kevin MacNeil said that the union would “stand with its members here today and for as long as it takes to gain justice in this dispute.”
While the strike — now in its second week — was initiated by UCU, the school’s Unison members have now joined in for a two-day walkout.
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said she was shocked that the college had hired a legal team to block the union from saying “anything defamatory about the principal.”
In defiance, she described management as a “disgrace” and principal Mark Silverman as “arrogant,” “deeply insecure” and “aggressive.”
The rally heard from speakers from several trade unions and campaigns like Disabled People Against the Cuts.
Teachers’ union NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney also spoke at the rally, arguing the attack on Lambeth College teacher’s was part of the attack on education pushed by the government.
“[This government’s politicians] are damaging teacher’s conditions and when they damage teachers’ conditions they are damaging students’ learning conditions,” said Mr Courtney to a cheering crowd.