Thursday, December 04, 2014
Think solidarity. Act locally. (Support Lambeth UCU)
This morning I supported a picket line of striking UCU members at Lambeth College and was, this lunchtime, one of the speakers at their strike rally.
Today is the first of a series of planned strikes by UCU members at the College, continuing an earlier series of strikes in opposition to the unilateral imposition of worse terms and conditions on new staff from 1 April.
UNISON members took five days of strike action in June as part of a related dispute arising from the same imposition, and UNISON also remains in dispute with the College, which faces an OFSTED inspection next week.
Although the fight at Lambeth College is essentially a defensive struggle, it is also, importantly, an expression of solidarity as strikers - themselves not on the new, worse conditions - take action in furtherance of a dispute which aims to protect new starters and future workers.
Without wishing to give any ground to the utter defeatism voiced by one member of UNISON's NEC yesterday (who declared national action to be off the agenda until we were stronger)(of which more later) I think we have to recognise the likely continuing importance of local disputes in all sectors, and to do all we can to show effective solidarity with these disputes when they arise.
Whether we should also be looking to encourage local offensive struggles, to secure local improvements above the nationally-negotiated floor of conditions of service in sectors such as local government is a question for a future blog post...
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the EE network.