Staff at Lambeth College will go on strike tomorrow (Tuesday) over proposed changes to pay and conditions, the University and College Union (UCU) has announced.

It comes after 95 per cent of staff who voted in a ballot backed industrial action following a dispute over plans to change contracts, and in particular, clauses about working hours, sick pay and holidays. The UCU has claimed the changes could leave some Lambeth staff working longer hours than all but three of London’s 38 FE colleges.

UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “There is deep anger over these proposed changes which will mean workloads will increase but sick pay and holidays will be cut. Different staff will have different contracts, hours and benefits and that will do little to enhance morale.

“The management of the college needs to work with us to ensure the college is fit for purpose. Downgrading staff terms and conditions is not the way to do that.”

Principal Mark Silverman said: “The reforms we are proposing to employment contracts for new staff are vital if we are to survive the many challenges facing the sector – challenges that left unchecked at other colleges have resulted in dwindling learner numbers and eventual college closures.

“We are disappointed with the result of the recent ballot and will continue our dialogue with the unions and our staff to try to avoid a strike which risks damaging the education of our students and job security of all those employed at the college.

“If a strike is unavoidable, we will make the necessary arrangements to minimise disruption to the education of our students during this period.

“Existing staff should understand that the proposals will only affect new staff and there are no plans to change current contracts for existing staff. The changes are part of the college’s strategic plan, which has been underway for two years.

“We will continue to strive towards long-term success and sustainability of the college which will help protect all of our jobs and ensure the college has a secure future.”