ITV London video report of Wednesday’s strikes

From ITV Regional News (London)

University and college staff across the capital have gone on strike today in a row over massive funding cuts.

Lecturers and students marched together to protest against budget cuts for further education colleges, which could result in job losses.

Three universities and eleven colleges in London marched to Westminster to back the industrial action.

Click here for the video report.

Strikes and protests on the eve of election

Yesterday saw strikes at King’s College London, Westminster University and eleven FE colleges across London.  Picket lines were well-attended, with students joining staff for lively protests.  Over 400 people from across London came to the demonstration at King’s College at 1pm.  The strike at King’s continues today, with picket lines all day and another rally planned at 1pm – all supporters welcome.

Lecturers at Sussex University were on strike as well, and strong support from students boosted the picket lines.  A large demonstration in Brighton that evening brought workers and students together from Sussex, Brighton University and several of the town’s FE colleges – and at the subsequent strike rally there was much discussion about how the different education unions could pull together to take the campaign forward and see off the cuts that will follow the election.

At UCL, strike action was suspended at the last minute in response to a new offer from management.  And the protests to save philosophy at Middlesex University have escalated, with the student occupation growing to take over an entire building and being joined by prominent philosophers keen to defend their discipline.  Follow the latest developments and send messages of support via the campaign blog http://savemdxphil.com/

The continuing action at King’s and Middlesex still need active support today.  Some the institutions on strike yesterday will be following through with action short of a strike over the coming weeks, and more ballots may result in strike action at Manchester Metropolitan University and elsewhere.

However, this is all just the start: today’s election is likely to be followed by an emergency budget within 50 days, which much of the press speculate could mean deeper public sector cuts than are being implemented in Greece.  The Right To Work Campaign has called an emergency conference for the defence of the public sector on the 22nd of May.  This is supported by the UCU London Region, Higher Education Committee and Further Education Committee as well as other trade union bodies, and will include a session on the defence of education.

UPDATE

University of Westminster management have summoned a prominent student activist to an investigation into the occupation in March.  The case of the Sussex 6 showed how universities can use disciplinary procedures to intimidate the movement (and how the movement can bite back!) and the victimisation at UoW could have implications at Middlesex and beyond.

A protest has been called at 2pm Friday at Regent St – it will need as much support as possible.

Support the strikes: demonstration on Wed 5th May

Staff at four universities and eleven Further Education colleges will be on strike next Wednesday, to stop the massive cuts in education.  A demonstrastion will also be held, sending a clear message to whichever party wins the election on May 6th that they won’t be able to cut back on education without a fight.

Demonstration
London – May 5th
Assemble 1pm, King’s College London (The Strand)

Workers and students prepare for action

Strike ballots have finished today at the University of Westminster and UCL – returning a yes vote at both campuses.  Meanwhile a general meeting of University of Sussex UCU has called for another round of action to follow its one day strike last term, beginning on the week of May 4th.  As these and other UCU branches in HE and FE prepare to strike, the Unison branch at Manchester Metropolitan University will be balloting for urgent action to stop redundancies.  And at the NUS Conference last week, student unions got a very strong mandate to support the strikes.

Against the backdrop of an election where all three parties stand for massive cuts, building support for these strikes will be crucial.  Our coordination meeting at KCL this Saturday will be a key opportunity to prepare for the battles ahead.

Staff and students reclaim King’s College

Report from Jim Wolfreys of KCL UCU:

Last Tuesday’s (30 March) strike in defence of education at King’s exceeded all expectations. More than 250 people joined loud and vibrant picket lines on all four King’s campuses. Security guards at one campus indicated that numbers entering their building were as much as 75% down. At the main building on the Strand only a small trickle of students and staff went in. 
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Photos from the King’s College strike

Photos from the Strand campus, where students and staff kept up a lively picket all morning and in the afternoon were joined by several hundred supporters for a rally.  With anger and determination, speaker after speaker told the crowd that this was only the start of the fightback at King’s.

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Support the strike at King’s College tomorrow

King’s College London, Tuesday 30 March: Celebrate resistance to education cuts!

***Rally 6pm 30 March, LSE***

Tuesday 30 March will see the first ever local strike against our management by UCU members at King’s College London. We have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action against a £27m cuts programme that has put 205 jobs at risk of redundancy, with more to follow.

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STRIKE! King’s College London this Tuesday

Lecturers at King’s College London have voted to take strike action this Tuesday – in a ballot that broke the record set at Sussex two weeks ago, which in turn had broken the record set last month in Leeds.

There is a report from the KCL dispute on the Guardian website.  It ends by asking readers “If jobs must go, how should it be done? Education.letters@guardian.co.uk – but recent battles at Leeds and Kent put us in a good position to respond: No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!

Now that King’s is in the eye of the storm, solidarity from across the sector is crucial.  Nearly 1000 staff and students came together to march on London this Saturday against education cuts, and now we need to throw that same unity behind the KCL dispute.  Use the attached collection sheet to get donations in your college or workplace, and send photos of yourself holding up the placard to educationactivist@googlemail.com

Click here to download placard

Click here to download collection sheet

Biosciences redundancies stopped by united staff-student campaign

University of Kent student Aaron Kiely reports on their victory.

The Biosciences department at the University of Kent was under threat of eleven compulsory redundancies, around one-third of the staff. The University management claimed that research was poor within the department, despite the quality of teaching being ranked amongst the best by students. The University decided to ‘restructure’ the department and sack staff, some who had been in the department for up to twenty-two years in favour of employing research-only ‘high-fliers’ who would bring in better RAE scores.

After an historic extraordinary meeting of the UCU, over 130 members of the union unanimously voted to ballot for strike action or action short of a strike if the university planned to go ahead with the redundancies. Students were involved from the beginning and were invited to the meeting and links were formed at the earliest opportunity.
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A week of solidarity – meeting Tuesday, strikes Thursday, protest Saturday

With the victimisation of the Sussex 6, the strikes at Leeds and Sussex, and the UCU’s demonstration in London, this will be a packed week in the struggle for education.

Tuesday 16th March – Activist Meeting
KCL (Strand) rm S-2.08, 6:30pm
Speakers so far confirmed include:

  • Gabriele Piazza – student occupier, University of Westminster
  • Paul Cecil – President, University of Sussex UCU
  • Jim Wolfreys – President, King’s College London UCU
  • Rachel Harger – one of the victimized “Sussex 6” students

Thursday 18th March – day of solidarity
Lecturers are on strike against the cuts after record-breaking ballots in both Leeds and Sussex.  We are asking everyone to make this a day of solidarity – doing public collections for the strike funds using the attached collection sheets and, if the “Sussex 6″ suspended students have not yet been reinstated, taking photos of people holding up placards saying “I occupied Sussex House”.  Send in reports of your day of solidarity to educationactivist@googlemail.com

Saturday 20th March – demonstration against education cuts
Assemble 12pm, at King’s College London on the Strand
Supported by London Region UCU

publicity: click on the picture to download a .pdf


Collection sheet for 18th March




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