Union could strike again

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The National Union of Teachers has warned that its members at Sheffield’s Longley Park Sixth Form College will be forced to take strike action in the future if the threat of compulsory redundancies returns.

Earlier this month, 95 per cent of members voted for a one-day walk out over the prospect of compulsory redundancies – which they say would result in the loss of 20 per cent of staff – as the college looks to trim its budget by about £1 million

The strike was scheduled for yesterday.

However, first thing yesterday morning, the NUT announced the strike had been called off following negotiations with the college.

Toby Mallinson, joint divisional secretary of the NUT, said the union needed to continue talks with college management and its members would strike in the future if the threat of compulsory redundancies returned.

He said: “Following intensive and productive negotiations, the planned strike action has been suspended temporarily,

“Further talks and actions are required regarding the possibility of compulsory redundancies.

“The college still has to cut £1m from its budget and if the threat of compulsory redundancies comes up again then we will strike.”

Mr Mallinson added there was currently no date set for any future action.

Mo Nisbet, college principal, said the position on redundancies had changed since the strike action was first agreed by the NUT members.

She said: “We are now in a position where we are confident we can avoid compulsory redundancies.

“We are pleased the NUT has postponed any action pending further discussions after Easter.”

Cuts to funding from central government mean the college is having to make significant reductions to its costs.

NUT members had expressed their concern the reduction in the number of full-time staff would lead to a fall in standards and a reduction in the number of courses on offer.

The Horninglow Road college, which opened in 2004, currently offers a range of full time courses for young people aged 16 to 19 and currently has more than 2,000 students enrolled.