Saturday, 24 April 2010

London to be hit by strikes at universities and colleges on 5 May


Education in London could be hit with widespread disruption on Wednesday 5 May as members of UCU take industrial action over massive funding cuts that are threatening jobs across the capital.
Eleven further education colleges* today returned ballots that all backed strike action. The news comes hot on the heels of votes at the University of Westminster and University College London (UCL) on Wednesday this week again in favour of industrial action.

Members of UCU at King's College took strike action last month and they, along with colleagues at UCL and Westminster, said today that they are seeking to take action on 5 May along with their colleagues in the further education colleges.

If negotiations fail between now and 5 May then education in London will be hit with the largest wave of strikes since UCU's action in colleges to coincide with school teachers' strike back in April 2008.

Higher education has been hit with a series of funding cuts that now total close to £1bn, while further education has been told to make savings of £340m in the next academic year. The union said today that funding cuts had gone from tough words for party leaders ahead of an election to the stark reality of people losing jobs and students missing out on education.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'All the tough talk about cuts has moved on and it is no longer figures on paper, but people's jobs and access to education that are disappearing. We believe in the power of education to make a real difference to people lives and do not think we should be slashing funding at a time when more people than ever need access to education. UCU members are still on the side of education and they will be fighting to save jobs and defend education.'
*The 11 colleges are:
Barnet College
City and Islington College
College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London
College of North West London
Greenwich Community College
Hackney Community College
Lambeth College
Lewisham College
Richmond Upon Thames College
Tower Hamlets College
Westminster Kingsway College

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