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From: The Socialist issue 1066, 27 November 2019: Vote for jobs homes, services. Tories out, Corbyn in. Fight for socialist policies.

Search site for keywords: College - Tories - Strikes - Workers - University - Union

Sixth-form college strikes: 'Sticking two fingers up at the Tories'

Leicester sixth-form college strike November 2019, photo Tessa Warrington

Leicester sixth-form college strike November 2019, photo Tessa Warrington   (Click to enlarge)

Tessa Warrington, Leicester Socialist Party

Socialist Party members in Leicester gave support to striking National Education Union members at Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I sixth-form College. It was one of 33 colleges nationally taking strike action on 20 November for fair pay, decent working conditions and employment terms.

The dispute is set against the background of a massive funding crisis facing sixth-form colleges as a result of government cuts amounting to 22% in real terms since 2010.

One striker said: "At this point we have just had enough, we can't not fight. We all want to stick two fingers up at the Tories".

Cars honked support while workers from the neighbouring University of Leicester stopped to chat with the strikers.

Both University and College Union members at the university and fellow college workers in the NASUWT union exclaimed at the lack of coordinated action between their respective union leaderships, especially as the UCU was striking the following week.

One picket felt as if negotiations had come to a standstill with the general election. "There isn't really a functioning government right now so we feel like no one is listening to us".

But like McDonald's, university, railway and Royal Mail workers, who are either planning or taking action, the time to coordinate to apply maximum pressure has never been better. That would really force any incoming government to take workers' demands seriously!

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Article dated 27 November 2019

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