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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 February 2006
Lambeth students' successful boycott
HUNDREDS OF students and staff joined Lambeth College Student Union's
boycott of canteens on 26 January. In all four canteens only a handful
of meals were bought. We believe that 95% of students and staff who
normally use the canteen didn't do so on boycott day.
Rob MacDonald, President Lambeth college Student Union
Management in both the college and canteen owners Scolarest now know
how serious the students are and the power we can have when organised.
After the boycott a student union delegation handed in a 1,400 strong
petition calling for food at prices students can afford - a common
comment from students was: "I boycott the canteen every day because I
can't afford it."
Canteen issues affect most students. We complained to Scolarest and
the college, then launched our petition, wrote articles in our magazine
and researched Scolarest's record.
We then set the date for the boycott, held site rep meetings -
involving up to 100 students in decision-making and planning - to
recommend the boycott and prepare for the day.
Then we saturated the college sites with leaflets with facts and
figures arguing the case for action. We contacted lecturers' union
NATFHE, who gave us 100% solidarity then contacted the canteen staff and
stressed the action was not against them but their national bosses. They
fully understood; they are low-paid and poorly treated.
We are proud of the students' union we have built, but we have no
sabbatical positions and many students had lessons during boycott times.
We gave out thousands of leaflets and had a successful protest.
Already prices have started to fall. Next day Ribena was 5p cheaper
and water 10p. We won't be bought off with just a few reductions. We
want a not-for-profit canteen we can afford to eat in. We are meeting
with other colleges and await a response from Scolarest after half term.
We look forward to other FE student Unions building similar action.
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In The Socialist 2 February 2006:
Pensions: 'Back down or we strike!'
United mass action can defeat Blair's pensions plans
Firefighters prepare to strike against pensions' robbery
Building a new shop stewards' movement
Healthworkers back RMT and Socialist Party initiatives
2006: Year of opportunity
100 British victims of Blair's war
Political earthquake as Hamas wins election
Public health not private profit
Campaigning against privatisation of schools in Hackney
Lambeth students' successful boycott
Civil servants strike back at Blair's cuts agenda
Post Office: National action needed to defend jobs
Fighting council cuts in Devon
Defence workers battle privatisation
The Socialist 2 February 2006 |
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