SOUTH Tyneside College staff are considering strike action after it was announced up to 14 jobs could be axed to plug a £1million funding shortfall.
College bosses revealed plans for the raft of of redundancies in meetings with union representatives after their budget was slashed by £1.2million.
The swathe of cutbacks could also include increases in teaching hours, cuts to benefits, such as occupational sick pay and maternity pay, and reductions in redundancy payments.
Trade unions Unison, GMB and UCU (Union for Colleges and Universities) met senior college management on Thursday, with UCU saying industrial action cannot be “ruled out”.
UCU – the trade union which mainly represents lecturers at the college – will be holding a meeting of all of its members on Monday, and will consider whether to declare a dispute.
Jon Bryan, regional support official of UCU, says: “At this stage, we cannot rule out our membership taking industrial action over these proposals. Our members are angry that they seem to be bearing the brunt of the cuts.”
“The range of changes that the college have identified will impact on the staff, the students and the wider community.”
A South Tyneside College spokesman said: “Like every other college in the country, we are facing a significant cut in our budget for 2015/16 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 include increased National Insurance contributions and pension payments.
“Unfortunately, we estimate that up to 14 full-time equivalent posts will be lost as we seek ways to address this latest cut.
“We have begun consultation with UCU and Unison.”