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Lambeth College principal threatens to axe disabled students' courses

LAMBETH College’s principal stooped to a new low yesterday, threatening to close services for disabled students if workers strike in the coming school year.

Mark Silverman outdid himself with his callous disregard for staff and students, stating in a letter that he would axe courses for those with learning difficulties as well as English as a foreign language if staff refused to sign new contracts and stage further walkouts.

University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Sally Hunt branded the intimidation attempt an “outrage.”

She said: “I am stunned the college is prepared to use some of the most vulnerable people in society to try and force decent hardworking staff to accept its changes.”

Mr Silverman’s letter to UCU national head of regional organisation Barry Lovejoy came after union members overwhelmingly rejected management proposals.

Bosses have made “little movement” to scrap vicious proposals in the new contracts, which would saddle workers with longer hours, more responsibilities without additional pay, shorter redundancy notices and lowered sick pay.

UCU members also rejected a bid to slash annual leave from 60 to 50 days.

Mr Silverman dismissed the longest strike in UCU’s history as having “achieved nothing,” choosing instead to fill his letter with bullying language.

And he threatened the jobs of language department lecturers if UCU members decide to take industrial action again.

The vile boss told UCU to “consider its position extremely carefully.”

It is not the first time Mr Silverman has resorted to intimidation, with his lawyers once warning Ms Hunt that they would pounce if she fell foul of Britain’s strict libel laws when talking to her members.

Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) spokeswoman Linda Burnip condemned the threats, saying “it’s just really nasty bullying behaviour.”

Teaching staff returned to work yesterday after a record six weeks on the picket lines.

In a message to members and supporters, UCU branch organisers stated they went back into work “all together — united and strong and committed to continuing our fight for decent terms and conditions.”


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