The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) express solidarity with University College Union (UCU) members at the College of North West London College (CNWL) that 5 days ago voted for strike action over a planned merger with the City of Westminster College and over the suspension of their colleague, Indro Sen.
The plans to merge CNWL with City of Westminster College were first announced back in 2013. Despite CNWL saying it was consulting staff over the merger, several staff have been made redundant since, with no guarantees over current staff jobs and no guarantees that both current campuses will stay open. Indro Sen, Branch Secretary of UCU at CNWL and a vocal critic of the merger plans, was suspended back in October 2016 whilst representing a former CNWL employee at a tribunal.
A GPTU spokesperson has said “It is obvious that the reason the colleges are merging and staff are being made redundant is because of severe cuts to further education from, firstly the coalition, and now a Conservative majority government. Sadly this is happening all across the country and shows the callousness at the way the Tories are endangering young people’s future and education for all local communities. ”
“Whilst we understand the College is in a difficult position with funding cuts, we support strike action voted for by 95% of UCU members as they are doing all they can to protect the CNWL from going under.”
To find out how you can support UCU members involved in this action, please visit their website. https://www.ucu.org.uk/
The Green Party Trade Union Group (GPTU) unequivocally support today’s education strikes called by NUT and UCU.
91% of teachers balloted support the NUT strike, demonstrating the level of concern amongst teachers in regards to the Government’s education plans.
In schools, the Government”s “Education for All” Bill will mean real term cuts in funding, with major effects on schools and teachers. This will further erode terms and conditions, increase workload and impede pay progression for teachers.
Furthermore, the government’s academisation plans are the wrong priority at a time where there is a teacher shortage and a lack of pupil places. Whilst the cost of the process of academisation is estimated at £1.3bn, there is no evidence that turning schools into academies will make them better – an appalling waste of money at a time where the education budget is being reduced.
Meanwhile, UCU members in Higher Education are on strike for a second time over low pay, gender inequality and casualisation of employment contracts. GPTU previously supported UCU’s dispute and pledged to continue to do so.
Whilst other major parties are leaderless, the Green Party has expressed its full support for teachers and Higher Education workers on strike today.
On 25th and 26th May, Greens will be supporting the UCU universities and Higher Education strikes against falling pay, unequal pay for women and men, and casualisation of employment contracts.
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The Green Party Trade Union Group is calling on Greens to support the strike called by the UCU union in universities and Higher Education, 25th-26th May.
University and HE staff will be on strike for two days not only against pay which has fallen by over 14% in real terms since 2009, but also against a huge 12.6% gender pay gap in Higher Education, and against increasing insecurity and casualisation of employment contracts for HE staff.
Green student groups in particular are encouraged to support the UCU action. This could be by:
- Attending the picket line at your university or Higher Education institution and telling the staff that you support them. Get in touch with the UCU branch at your institution to find out when and where a picket may be taking place (most have websites), or simply speak to the staff on the picket line when you see them. If possible, you can even bring drinks and snacks for the picketers!
- Emailing your Vice-Chancellor or Principal, calling on them to put pressure on the national negotiations to come up with a better offer for HE staff.
- Encouraging your Student Union to take action in support of the HE staff at your institution.
UCU has issued guidance to students who wish to support the strike.
Greens who attend picket lines or take action to support the UCU strike are encouraged to share photos on Facebook and Twitter and to let GPTU know!