More Sheffield College strikes on the cards if job cuts row continues

Lecturers picket outside Sheffield College as they protest against possible job cuts
Lecturers picket outside Sheffield College as they protest against possible job cuts
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Further strikes could take place after Sheffield College lecturers staged a walkout over new cuts that could see up to 25 jobs axed.

The industrial action yesterday was the second recent walkout at the college, which employs more than 2,000 people and has over 2,000 students.

Members of the University and College Union said further strikes may take place if the dispute is not settled.

The latest walkout follows 13 compulsory redundancies which were made earlier this year after the college initially consulted on plans to cut 75 jobs in a bid to deal with funding cuts.

The rest of the job losses were made up of voluntary redundancies and people moving to other roles.

The college is now consulting on plans to cut the equivalent of 25 full-time posts for lecturers and business support staff.

The latest round of redundancies are designed to help deal with £3 million of Government cuts for the next academic year.

Campuses remained open but some lessons were cancelled at the college’s sites in the city centre, Hillsborough, Norton and Crystal Peaks.

Members of the UCU say they are also angry at plans for less-qualified staff to teach lessons.

John Giddins, regional organiser for the UCU, joined around 10 union members on a picket line outside the City site on Granville Road.

He said: “Today is about a further round of cuts and redundancies. It is also about the introduction of lower-paid, lower-skilled and possibly unqualified people to teach the children and adults of Sheffield.

“It is a crucial fight to maintain quality and standards for the people of Sheffield.”

Chris Allen, joint branch secretary of the UCU, said she feared there could be around 15 compulsory redundancies as a result of the new cuts.

“It is undoubtedly the case there have been massive funding cuts from central Government but we are concerned about the way the college is actually responding,” she said.
She said more walkouts may take place if the dispute is not settled.

Heather Smith, principal of Sheffield College, said: “We need to generate additional income and save costs in response to £3 million in national government funding cuts.

“Whilst any job losses are regrettable, most of the required savings have been achieved through an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme.

“We will do all we can to minimise any potential compulsory redundancies.”