Crunch talks as South Tyneside College plans to axe 17 staff

South Tyneside College lunch time protests over job cuts.
South Tyneside College lunch time protests over job cuts.

Union leaders are to hold crunch talks with bosses at South Tyneside College on Monday over plans to axe up to 17 jobs to plug a funding shortfall.

The college announced plans for a raft of redundancies - which would see 14 lecturers, two members of management and a member of clerical staff lose their jobs - last month after its budget was slashed by £1.2m.

We want to try to resolve the situation through agreement rather than disagreement.

Jon Bryan

The cutbacks could also include increases in teaching hours, cuts to benefits, such as occupational sick pay and maternity pay, and reductions in redundancy payments.

But staff voted to resist the changes at a branch meeting of the UCU (Union for Colleges and Universities) and have not ruled out taking industrial action.

Workers have already voiced their discontent by staging lunchtime protests outside the college site, in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, with over 50 staff involved.

Jon Bryan, UCU regional support official, said: “We are holding a meeting with management at the college on Monday.

“We want to try to resolve the situation through agreement rather than through disagreement.

Mr Bryan says members members remain firmly opposed to the job loss proposals outlined.

Consultations between the college and unions over the cutbacks are ongoing.

A South Tyneside College spokesman said: “Like every other college in the country, we are facing a significant cut in our budget and this is something that cannot be ignored and must be addressed.

“We are facing a budget reduction of £1.2million and other financial pressures.”