Pickets were up early and ready to show the strength of feeling of UCU members at Newcastle College about the attack on pay and pensions for those working in FE Colleges.
Those working at Newcastle College had additional incentives to be angry as the College has begun proceedings to dismiss as redundant 171 staff (10% of the workforce). More details on this can be found on the Newcastle College UCU website at http://newcastlecollege.web.ucu.org.uk/
The students have shown their support for lecturers and UCU at the College and this was reported here:
The anger of both staff and students was visible for all on Thursday 24th March as UCU Branch representatives reported good turnouts on the pickets and a lot of support from students and the public – including the Fire Brigades Union.
After the pickets, staff and students marched together to join the main march and rally in Newcastle City Centre, and David O’Toole (Branch Secretary of UCU at Newcastle College) addressed the mass rally at the Monument (below) and spoke of the anger amongst members and the support that the union was receiving from students.
Patrick Hutchinson, Branch Chair of UCU at Newcastle College says: “How proud I am of both the branch and the students who took part in the strike. The passion and depth of feeling was a sight to behold. I want to thank everyone who attended what was for me was one of my best days as a trade unionist. I donâ€™t think the day could have been any better.”
He added, “It is is unfortunate that UCU members at Newcastle College had three reasons to take strike action today – national pay cuts, national attacks on pensions, and local job losses. That simply tripled the anger that was felt by many and has made people more determined to fight back.”
For more on Newcastle College job losses:
(with special thanks to Simon Drummond for providing the photographs at Newcastle College)