Over 250 UCU members at Tower Hamlets College are in day 10 of an indefinite strike against cuts.
The package of cuts includes:
1 - Cuts in courses, particularly English for Speakers of Other Languages courses (1000 places going).
2 - Over 30 teachers’ jobs lost, including 13 compulsory redundancies.
3 - Attempts to turn a community college into a business for selling diplomas.
A mass meeting of 160 strikers today reaffirmed our decision for all out strike. The strike seems to becoming more rather than less solid. Many people have joined the union and the strike at the Poplar (6th form) site and a few members who were working at another site came out this week. Some team leaders and middle managers who were expected to go back to work after a few days are still out. A Hair and Beauty teacher who decided that it would be in the interest of students for her to go back to work was so shocked at the treatment she received (ordered to perform duties outside her role and threatened with breach of contract if she didn’t) that she came back out.
An amazing feature of the strike has been the large numbers actively involved. Loads of people are heading out to speak at other colleges and workplaces, where they are given heroes’ welcomes because people know that their own bosses are watching this struggle. Strikers come back from these visits incredibly energised and determined that we carry on. Others are involved in different forms of fundraising, publicity, welfare and hardship advice and all the other small and big things that need doing to keep the operation going. A debate is going on about whether to offer free ‘Solidarity’ classes to ESOL students while the strike is on. We have a meeting space and HQ at London Action Resource Centre where we’ve had great support and generosity from local anarchists and others. A negotiation meeting today (first one offered by management in over a week) seems to have made some progress but I don’t yet know any details.
How you can support the strike:
Come to the Community Demonstration:
Saturday 12 September 2pm Altab Ali Park , Whitechapel High St, London E1
Come to daily pickets:
Arbour Square E1 0PT
Bethnal Green Centre E2 6AB
Poplar E14 0AF
* Make a direct bank transfer to:
The Cooperative Bank
Sort Code: 08 92 99
Account Number: 65252262
* Send cheques payable to "UCU Arbour Square" to
UCU Tower Hamlets College
c/o LARC 62 Fieldgate Street London E1 1ES
For background and updates:
Facebook: Tower Hamlets Stop the Cuts