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South Tyneside College staff prepared to strike over job cuts amid £1.2million shortfall

South Tyneside College
South Tyneside College

CONCERNED staff have said they are prepared to take strike action over South Tyneside College’s plans to axe up to 17 jobs to meet a £1.2million funding shortfall.

At a packed meeting at the college, the University and College Union, which represents lecturers at the college, says members voted to ‘resist the changes’ – which would also include changes to terms and conditions as well as potential job losses .

Union members made it clear to us that if industrial action becomes necessary, that we should be prepared to start that legal process

Jon Bryan, Regional Support Officer at the UCU

The union says that the cutbacks – which have been proposed after the college’s further education budget was slashed by £1.2million – could see 14 lecturers, two members of management and a member of clerical staff made redundant.

Jon Bryan, regional support officer of the UCU, said: “It was the largest gathering of UCU members at a College that I have seen for some time.

“We had 76 members at the college.

“Members are clearly concerned about the changes to their terms and conditions.

“The Branch voted to 
continue to work with other unions to resist the changes.

“Union members made it clear to us that if industrial action became necessary, that we should be prepared to start that legal process.

“People won’t easily give up their lunchtime to come to a meeting, but it was clear that they felt these issues were important enough to do that.”

Another meeting with College management is to take place on Thursday.

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 over the plans last Thursday.

South Tyneside College says it is in consultation with unions over the planned job losses, but adds that the cut in its budget for 2015/2016 cannot be ignored.

No one from South Tyneside College was available for comment yesterday.