After a month-long strike against cuts, teaching staff at Tower Hamlets College have voted to return to work.
UCU said it was "delighted" that an agreement has finally been reached.
UCU head of further education Barry Lovejoy said: "Our members have fought a tremendous campaign and UCU is pleased to have finally reached an agreement with the college.
However a worker at the college who had been posting updates on libcom.org posted the following comment which, while acknowledging important concessions were won, including the saving of 7 posts and improve redundancy deals, has important criticisms of the way the ending of the dispute was handled by the union:
The so-called victory is that there are no compulsory redundancies. Instead the 13 at risk were re-deployed or won appeals or have accepted so-called voluntary redundancy.
There was no withdrawal of the threat of compulsory redundancy.
There has been no agreement that there will be no further compulsory redundancies, or any other agreement about honouring our existing terms and conditions.
Through threats and bribes some of the compulsory redundancies have been re-named as voluntary. The pressure came both from management and from the union. Both national and local officials phoned up people at risk and told them they should take so-called voluntary redundancy. Two days before the Acas ‘breakthrough’ our mass meeting had affirmed that, it was clear that though most people wanted the strike to be over soon, we were prepared to see it through in order to protect these people, and these people were not under pressure to accept a deal.
The agreement states that compulsory redundancies have been avoided and this is the “victory” that the UCU, the SWP etc are crowing about. In fact there have been compulsory “voluntary” redundancies – people have been bullied into accepting “voluntary” redundancy.
This deal was sold through with the most outrageous manipulation of the mass meeting where discussion was suppressed before and during the meeting as far as possible, with members being shouted down by union officials.
In the short time there was for debate, many people spoke against accepting the deal but in the end there were 24 votes against, many abstentions and the clear majority voting to accept and go back to work. (though the meeting was of course smaller than our usual weekly meetings).
We returned to work Friday morning.Where I work there is relief to not have to stay on strike longer but also a lot of unease about how it ended and what we are now facing.