Stop the cuts: join the coalition to defend education

Day of action: 21 June 2010

Education is under attack.

  • Over £1bn has been cut from higher education budgets over the next three years.
  • Thousands of jobs already gone.
  • Thousands more at risk.
  • For the first time in decades our education system is shrinking and the barriers to access are rising.
  • Current and future generations are at risk of being locked out of our education system.

Staff and students have united in an unprecedented sector-wide coalition to oppose the cuts.

ATL, GMB, EIS, NUS, UCU, UNITE and UNISON have joined forces to defend education.

British and Irish teaching Unions support United for Education

The British and Irish Group of Teachers Unions (BIGTU),which represents all the EI-affiliated unions in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, has issued a statement in support of the United for Education coalition’s day of action on 21 June. BIGTU affiliates include: ASTI, IFUT, INTO, TUI in Ireland and ATL, EIS, NASUWT, NUT, SSTA, UCU, UTU in the UK.

BIGTU statement:

On behalf of the British and Irish Group of Teachers Unions, we send greetings and support to the United for Education Coalition on their day of action. We believe that our governments are committing a huge and historic mistake in launching further attacks on our education systems. We recognise that the disastrous cuts to further and higher education in Britain are part of an accelerating wider offensive against state education that threatens to reverse the democratic advances of the postwar period, which saw the extension of access to education to all the peoples of our communities as a right. We believe that this offensive will have the effect of widening inequality and betraying a generation of our young people, as well as further marginalising the millions who find themselves unemployed during this recession. We also reassert our belief that equal access to good quality education is a condition of economic prosperity and that this attack, which appears to be undertaken in the interests of a narrow business community, threatens to further weaken the economies of Britain and Ireland. We absolutely endorse the United for Education coalition’s call for education to be protected and for a return to sustainable, publicly controlled funding for education and we will work to extend the unity shown within the coalition in the cause of defending our education system as a whole.

Petitions and balloons at East Riding College

Campaigning in Calderdale

UCU held a staff event during lunchtime, to which community groups affected by cuts at the college were invited. Pink and Blue fairy cakes were given out to everyone who signed the joint union’s petition.

Action at Hereford College of Arts

The UCU and NUS branches here ran events in tandem, including speakers and a recruitment stall. Continue reading Action at Hereford College of Arts

Lively lunchtime rally in Southampton

Southampton University UCU, UNISON and UNITE held stalls and a lively lunchtime rally on the green. They collected signatures and made up 200 placards to represent the number of admin posts currently threatened with redundancy at the university. Continue reading Lively lunchtime rally in Southampton

Purple picnic at Manchester College

Manchester College union members held a ‘purple picnic’ on the grass outside the principal’s office to demonstrate their solidarity with colleagues across the education sector faced with losing their jobs and also to demonstrate their anger at the principal for his recent decision to derecognise UCU.

Nursery protest at Goldsmiths

Goldsmiths College UNISON, NUS and UCU used the day to highlight their campaign to save the college nursery following management’s decision to shut the facility from September 2010 leaving staff and students with no childcare provision and some term time only staff with almost immediate dismissal.

Budget warning at Bristol rally

Union members from the two universities in Bristol held a mass rally at the to institutions. A great turnout was followed by local media coverage in the Evening Post:

University staff protest over plan to cut education funding

STAFF at Bristol’s two universities have warned Chancellor George Osborne that further cuts to education funding will have a serious impact on the city.

On the eve of today’s Budget, unions staged demonstrations at both the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.

They were among staff and students at more than 70 colleges and universities who took part in protests yesterday over plans to cut university funding by over £1.2 billion, and adult learning by over £200 million.

The campaigners say higher education has been hit by financial restraints and further curbs will hit current and future students and also the local and national economy.

The seven unions campaigning under the banner United for Education want Mr Osborne to protect university funding and put education at the heart of the economic recovery.

They say slashing the education budget could create a “lost generation of learners”.

There are fears that thousands of young people will miss out on going to university this year because applications have reached a record level, but only 10,000 extra places have been available.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), said: “Nearly one million young people are not in education, employment or training, and over 200,000 qualified applicants could miss out on a university place this year.

“Anyone who thinks that cuts won’t massively impact on the quality of education in the country is living in a dream world.”

Six thousand people, from cleaners to professors, work at Bristol University, and 3,400 at UWE.

Both centres have seen voluntary redundancies already and expect to see more jobs go.

Further education, at colleges such as City of Bristol and Filton, and adult education classes have also been hit.

James Annett, of UCU at Bristol University, said the demonstration in Park Row yesterday was aiming to raise awareness of the impact that cutting higher and further education funding would have.

“This is just the start of what might well be a long campaign,” he said.

At Bristol and at UWE, the main unions involved in the protest were UCU, Unison and Unite.

More than 600 people at UWE have signed a petition in support of the campaign, delivered to Vice Chancellor Professor Steve West.

Mike Hines, of Unison at UWE, said cutbacks at the university would affect the local economy. He said the campaigners believed education was vital so that people would continue to have the skills and knowledge needed.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Times are very tough and so it is not possible to exclude higher education and further education from the need for public expenditure savings, but the Government is committed to protecting front-line services for students and learners.”

Vuvuzelas protest in Doncaster

Doncaster College union members held noisy protests throughout the day using UCU-customised vuvuzelas to express their anger at the cuts! Continue reading Vuvuzelas protest in Doncaster

Unions uniting up in Aberdeen

University of Aberdeen UCU, UNISON and UNITE branches held a lively rally outside the university.

Continue reading Unions uniting up in Aberdeen