College lecturers set to strike over cuts

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LECTURERS at Barnsley College are preparing to take strike action on June 13 over threatened redundancies - unless a deal is reached with management.

Members of the University and College Union say 30 lecturers are facing compulsory redundancies in addition to 20 more who have volunteered to go.

The result would see a reduction of the teaching workforce by a quarter, leading to larger class sizes and less time devoted to lectures.

The UCU says the proposed cuts will only hit lecturers, and claims two managers who applied for voluntary redundancy were turned down, a move which would have saved £100,000.

College principal Colin Booth said that job losses were inevitable because of the Government’s funding cuts.

A college spokesman said talks with the union were continuing.

“Overall the college is in a strong position to face what will clearly be a difficult time for public services over the next few years,” Mr Booth said.

Managers believe the college faces cuts to its budget of around 30 per cent over the next four years.

UCU branch secretary Dave Gibson said he still hoped strikes would not be necessary if the threat of compulsory redundancies was dropped.

“We estimate the college has already saved more than £1 million from its staffing budget for next year by voluntary severance,” he said.

The union expects sixth form classes to be badly hit, with 16 posts amounting to a third of the staff to go - and A-levels in Spanish, environmental science and economics to be axed.

Other courses affected could include art, engineering, catering, graphics, tourism and hair and beauty.

A vote on taking strike action is currently under way.

The results are to be announced on Wednesday, with the industrial action set to start on the Monday after that.

Barnsley College Students have already staged a protest march.

They held a sit in, and they have also called on Mr Booth to resign.