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The Socialist 12 May 2010 |
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Lecturers' union strike demo
A number of branches of the University and College Union (UCU) took strike action on Wednesday 5 May, and many others held protests. The action involved staff from further education (FE) colleges as well as higher education (HE), and was against funding cuts and compulsory redundancies.
FE and adult education budgets are already being cut by £190 million and more than £1 billion is being cut from HE spending over the next three years. The jobs of over 20,000 UCU members are threatened, and this estimate may become even higher when the new government gets to work on slashing the public sector further.
UCU members on strike from 11 London FE colleges and three universities were joined by others in a march from Kings College London to Westminster, where they listened to speakers who condemned the cuts. UCU leaders emphasised that the action was only the start of a "challenging period" for the union and its members and warned that it wouldn't be the last time that UCU members would be out on the streets.
Chris Baugh, assistant general secretary of the PCS civil servants' union spoke on the platform to express solidarity with the strikers, saying that solidarity isn't just a nice idea, an optional extra, but is a vital antidote to workers being forced to pay the price of the recession. He stressed that the cuts-making consensus of the three main political parties must be challenged by the public sector unions being prepared to take industrial action together.
London region UCU has called another one-day strike for 18 May.