COLLEGE staff in South Tyneside face losing their jobs just before Christmas.
Bosses at South Tyneside College, in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, have announced that two lecturers and four support members of staff are facing redundancy, while two additional lecturers may have their hours slashed.
The departments affected include business, travel and tourism, and marketing.
The redundancies are down to the college, which underwent a £3m revamp last year, having to make savings to its budget and the need to streamline its workforce.
But union officials slammed the timing of the “unnecessary” decision, saying it leaves those affected facing an uncertain festive season.
A South Tyneside College spokesman said: “We have sought at every stage to limit potential job losses and have been able to do so by examining and taking all other options to make essential savings. This has included freezing recruitment, losing agency, casual and temporary staff, and making non-pay savings wherever possible.
“Unfortunately, three full-time and three part-time posts could be lost and two other staff will have working hours reduced due to the necessity of making an adjustment to our delivery model.”
The college has now entered into a period of consultation with the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison.
Individual consultation with those members of staff affected are set to take place this week.
The college spokesman added: “We are also working with staff and unions to redeploy people into suitable alternative employment wherever possible, both within the college and externally.
“To support this, voluntary redundancy will be available across all college departments and we will look to move affected staff to any suitable alternative internal posts. We will support staff in every way possible, and this includes providing salary protection for 12 months to those who will lose their jobs.”
However, representatives at UCU said that the cuts couldn’t have come at a worse time.
A spokesman said: “We are disappointed that at a time when many of us are looking forward to the festive season, the college has chosen to commence a process that will see some families facing an uncertain future at Christmas and into the New Year.
“UCU and UNISON were made aware that the college intended to consult with the trade unions and affected members of staff about a number of redundancies.
“We will work with the college to try to avoid job losses and any detriment to our members, but UCU remains of the view that such a restructure and redundancy process is unnecessary at this time of year, given the state of the college’s finances.”
The college currently employs 171 full and part-time staff and 216 support staff.