Job security tops South Shields college merger plan concerns

South Tyneside College.
South Tyneside College.

Job protection and education standards have topped the list of concerns by teaching staff over the proposed merger of South Tyneside college with its counterpart in North Tyneside.

Formal consultation is now underway in response to plans to create one further education institution by merging the South Shields college together with Tyne Metropolitan College.

The joint trade unions have every interest in making sure that the new College works well for the benefit of the staff, students and our local communities and we will continue to be involved in that evolving process.”

JTU

While union chiefs are not opposing the merger, they have highlighted a list of top concerns.

These include:

* The continuation of high quality, diverse education provision in the local communities that are currently served by the existing Colleges

*The protection of jobs at current sites.

*No detriment in staff terms and conditions and pay.

*The involvement of the recognised staff trade unions in consultations about the changes.

The Joint Trade Unions - the GMB, UCU and UNISON - said it hoped the new college would “build on the good traditions of both colleges.” Both colleges were rated as “Good” during a recent Ofsted inspection.

A joint statment says: “We have already made it clear that we wish to see all agreements with the current recognised trade unions continue, and that we would wish to talk about industrial relations in the new college throughout this consultation.

“We will continue to work with the senior representatives of the colleges to represent the interests of our membership. The joint trade unions have every interest in making sure that the new College works well for the benefit of the staff, students and our local communities and we will continue to be involved in that evolving process.”

The merger is a bid to reduce costs. It is hoped by working together the colleges will be able to create opportunities for growth in student numbers, alternative funding streams and the sharing of good practice.

The proposed new organisation - planned to be called Tyne Coast College - will operate across all existing campuses on both sides of the river.