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STRIKE TO DEFEND
JOBS AND EDUCATION

L

ast Saturday saw over 250,000 people
take to the streets of London on the
People’s Assembly protests against
austerity. Thousands demonstrated in
Glasgow too.
After weeks of ignoring the protests
that swept across Britain after the Tory
election victory, even the mainstream
media had to cover the events.
The demonstrations showed the
scale of the anger against the Tories
and the potential for defeating their
austerity agenda.
Every worker knows that if we don’t
stand up and fight for our jobs, our
services and our living standards, the
Tories will destroy them.

Reverse

We all know that we can’t afford to wait
another five years for the possible election
of a Labour government, even if we
thought they might reverse austerity.
While it’s great that Jeremy Corbyn
is on the ballot paper for the election of
Labour leader, the likely winners will
refuse to fight austerity because Labour’s
position is that austerity is “necessary”.
So it’s important that colleges across
the capital are co-ordinating the fight to
save jobs. Several colleges aren’t striking
because the threat of action has forced
management to back off and agree to no
compulsory redundancies.
In recent months we’ve seen
a growing campaign to halt the

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Part of the ‘End Austerity Now’ protest

devastating threat of a 24 percent cut to
adult education funding.
That means the loss of 400,000
student places on top of the 1 million
lost since 2010. The employers body the
Association of Colleges (AoC) has said
that adult education “will not exist” in
five years time if the cuts go through.
Over 40,000 people have signed
the national Defend FE petition, while
hundreds have attended two lobbies of
parliament and other protests.
And this week’s strikes are only the
start of an industrial response.
A second coordinated strike is
planned for the end of June, involving
colleges in Yorkshire and Humberside
and Mid-Cheshire.
It’s crucial that every UCU branch
gets behind those who are fighting job
cuts, by sending messages of support,
talking collections and getting to picket

lines in the next wave of action.
This is the sort of resistance we need
to develop into the autumn term, as part
of the wider fight against the Tories.
UCU has policy for national strikes
over pay in further and higher education.
We need our union to build for hard
hitting action, if possible co-ordinated
with other unions.
UCU Congress voted to call a
national demonstration to defend
education “from the cradle to the grave”,
we need that demonstration to go ahead
on the biggest possible scale.

Timetable

A timetable for action against Cameron’s
government is starting to take shape:
• On 8 July the People’s Assembly is
organising protests across Britain on
budget day.
• Together with many unions they have
also backed a mass protest at the Tory
Party conference in October.
• The call for demonstrations against
the new anti-union laws is also being
taken up widely.
But we also need unions like UCU to
organise national action that we know
could derail the Tories’ plans.
We can’t just be left to fight college by
college and workplace by workplace.
We need to unite the fights.
On 20 June we marched together. It’s
time to strike together too!

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College strikes 23/06/15