Fighting to stop redundancies at Brighton university on Monday

Brighton university workers show the way to fight 

Workers at the University of Brighton returned defiantly to picket lines on Monday to battle against the bosses’ plans for compulsory redundancies.

Students and workers in the UCU union came together on picket lines and blocked traffic in the process.

Activists held signs that read, “Give us our university back” and “Defend education”.

Mark Abel, of the University of Brighton UCU union, said, “When the ­university first officially notified redundancies it said it wanted between 80 and 97 to go.

“It has already got 83 ­‘voluntary’ job cuts, but still ways it wants 22 compulsory ones. That means 105 jobs to go, more than the upper end of its notification.

“Our vicious and vindictive vice chancellor, who enjoys the confidence of just 6 ­percent of the university, is out to break the UCU branch.

“She aims to rip up all existing terms and conditions, downgrade all academic staff and deliver teaching on the cheap. But she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Brighton UCU is determined to fight for every job and has been on indefinite strike since June.”

Workers at Brighton ­university have held firm against cuts and kept up the pressure on university bosses by consistently organising picket lines and protests.

They should be an inspiration to all and be an example of how disputes in higher education should be run.

This is the inspiration that those at the top of the UCU desperately need to take.

Messages of support via Twitter to @BrightonUCU Donations to tinyurl.com/BrightonFund

Sophie Squire

On the EIS-Fela picket line at Edinburgh College (Picture: @edincol_eisfela on Twitter)

Edinburgh College strikers escalate to stop a victimisation

Workers at Edinburgh College are continuing their near all out strike after bosses sacked prominent trade union activist Kevin Scally.

Members of the EIS‑Fela union plan to step up the strikes from three days a week to a five-day indefinite strike.

They say Kevin’s sacking will open the door for the bosses to make widespread compulsory redundancies at the college.

On picket lines last Monday workers stopped traffic at the Sighthill campus of the college.

Edinburgh College EIS branch secretary Penny Gower told Socialist, “Cars were backed up in both directions as we talked to drivers about supporting the strike.

“A couple of college students joined us on the picket lines and have out leaflets too.”

The bosses at Edinburgh College have been trying to eliminate the equivalent of 39 full-time positions this year. Over 180 workers were told they would face targeted voluntary severance.

Those who took severance say they felt pressured into it. College bosses at Edinburgh say they are “reshaping the curriculum,” but that means sacking workers and cutting the courses available to working class students.

Kevin said, “In December I wrote to the principal to ask her to join with the staff unions and the student association to try and secure more government funding to maintain educational provision. Instead of that, I have been victimised.”

Workers at Glasgow City College are also fighting cuts and planned to begin strikes on Tuesday of this week.

College bosses plan to cut 100 jobs, including many of those who run and teach additional support needs courses.

Members of EIS-Fela have been battling against two planned rounds of redundancies, one of which was compulsory. They are also angry that college bosses plan to reduce lecturers’ face-to-face time with students and won’t tackle increasing workloads.

Workers plan to strike from Tuesday to Friday of this week and Monday to Thursday of next week and will continue on the 19,20,21, 26 and 29 of this month.

Send a message of protest to Edinburgh College’s principal at Audrey.Cumberford@edinburghcollege.ac.uk. Copy in the EIS-Fela branch secretary, pennygower1@gmail.com. 
Send messages of support via twitter.com/edincol-eisfela

Push for indefinite HE strike

UCU members nationally were waiting this week to hear the results of an e-ballot on whether to continue their marking and assessment boycott. Workers were also still waiting for details about the strike days in September that are part of the continuing fight over pay, equalities, ­contracts and workload.

Workers must continue to fight for democratic control of the union and push for the indefinite action that can win.

Vote yes in the FE ballot

Thousands of further education (FE) college workers in England were set to receive a ballot over whether to strike this week.

And workers have every reason to be angry.

While the pay of college workers has fallen for over a decade by as much as 35 percent, the pay of principals is still increasing.

The UCU union found that 26 principles received a pay rise of over 10 percent last year and an average salary rise of 4 percent.

Workers at 89 colleges are to vote in a “disaggregated” ballot—counted at each college individually.

The union is demanding a 15.4 percent pay rise for workers, action on excessive workloads, binding national negotiations, and a just transition commission for FE.

The ballot is set to run until 10 October.  A big yes vote is crucial.

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