Staff at Harrogate College have been back out on strike for two further days of strike action on 17-18th May as part of action across the Hull College Group. UCU members taking strike action have also been joined by some Unison members refusing to cross the picket lines, leading to the library service being shut on the Friday.
Iain Dalton, Socialist Party North Yorkshire Organiser.
College management have been in the press making the ludicrous claim that there will be no effect on provision. Yet there will be no full time HE courses, no staff in the library before midday, no security staff and in whole departments, such as Art, will have no staff left!
Student support was prominent again, with many signing the petition against the cuts, and students with some creative placards (reflecting the impact on their lecturers) on the picket line such as ‘Stop Targetting Hardworking Staff’, ‘What About the Next Generation?’ and one simply containing the name of the cuts package – ‘Fresh Start’ – and a cartoonish turd!
With the cutbacks at the College, plus the threat to remove guards from Northern Rail which is the bulk of services to Harrogate, and the establishment of a ‘Wholly-Owned Subsidiary’ and proposed closure of the Briary wing at Harrogate Hospital – there is a real threat of important services disappearing from the town.
But such college cutbacks are not just unique to Harrogate & Hull. UCU members in Leeds took part in a joint protest with other trade unionists over cutbacks there, and have won ballots at Kirkless and Bradford colleges recently, with Bradford UCU members due to strike on 23d May.
The battles against taking place across the FE sector need to be linked up, challenging the underfunding of the sector which is driving its current increasing commercialisation.