College staff strike over job loss plans

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BARNSLEY College staff have staged another walkout in their ongoing dispute with bosses over plans to axe jobs.

Members of the University and College Union manned a picket line at the Eastgate entrance to the college between 8.30am and 9.30am yesterday.

And union members were today meeting at the college at 10.30am today before a planned march through Barnsley town centre to Peel Square for a rally at 11.30am. Barnsley College principal Colin Booth said “We believe the worst case scenario to be 15 staff being made redundant out of a total of 687 college staff.

“We have also reduced staffing by 61 taking voluntary severance over the last two months.

“We are disappointed that we need to lose valued staff but it is simply not possible to balance the college budget for next year without making savings in some departments. There is not a choice - we can’t spend money that we don’t have.

“Staff reductions will mean an increase in class sizes, with the college’s current average class size of 14 increasing to 17.

“The situation is not ideal but I am certain that we can deal with the national public funding cuts without an impact on the quality of education.”

Meanwhile, staff and campaigners were today protesting outside the Arts Tower over the University of Sheffield’s decision to end its final salary pension scheme.

Protesters say the cuts will hit some of the lowest paid staff, many of whom earn as little as £14,000 a year.