New College Stamford lecturers hold protest in support of London colleagues

From left, New College Stamford public service lecturer and UCU health and safety representative Nick Neilson, New College Stamford UCU branch secretary Godfrey Jennings and New College Stamford student Peter Serafin, 18.
From left, New College Stamford public service lecturer and UCU health and safety representative Nick Neilson, New College Stamford UCU branch secretary Godfrey Jennings and New College Stamford student Peter Serafin, 18.
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LECTURERS and students joined the picket lines to show support for striking colleagues yesterday (Wednesday).

Union members staged a lunchtime protest at New College Stamford to show solidarity with staff at London colleges and schools who went on strike that day in continued opposition to the Government’s public sector plans.

Members of the University and College Union were joined by National Union of Students representatives as they showed their support for their colleagues.

The row centres over plans for greater pension contributions from staff in return for reduced benefits and an increase in the retirement age.

New College Stamford union branch secretary, Godfrey Jennings, who gave a speech at the protest, said: “New College staff really value their pensions and have made their views of the detrimental changes crystal clear.

“The average lecturer is facing an increase of around £90 a month ultimately in exchange for reduced benefits. Increased contributions start on April 1 despite a failure to agree.

“Educators do not like taking industrial action. Our chosen vocation is to change lives and transform life chances and we are unlikely militants. However, it is not fair for ordinary people to suffer huge cuts in their standards of living for a crisis they did not create.”

Mr Jennings said it was important to keep the momentum of opposition to the cuts going, and to offer support for colleagues in London who were “taking a hit” for the rest of the country.