UCU members angry at plans to sack staff

UCU Scotland vice President Douglas Chalmers speaking in support of striking Dundee members at Dundee Mayday rally . Pic courtesy Dundee UCU

UCU Scotland vice President Douglas Chalmers speaking in support of striking Dundee members at Dundee Mayday rally . Pic courtesy Dundee UCU

UCU members at Leeds City and Bradford colleges are preparing to ballot for strike action in separate rows over job losses, resulting from plans by the colleges to cut budgets.

Bradford College is seeking to make £8 million worth of savings with 140 staff at risk of losing their jobs. Leeds City College wants to cut wages and axe 146 staff through a plan to get rid of 312 full-time jobs and then bring in 166 lower-paid roles. UCU said this would result in the loss of one-in-four lecturing jobs at the college.

The union said the situation at Bradford could have been avoided and blamed an expansive building programme that the college believed would attract new students.

Leeds City College wants to make nearly £11 million worth of savings and is planning to shut sites at Morley, Meanwood and St Bartholomew’s. The latest cuts at Leeds come on top of 100 redundancies made during the college’s “Autumn Change” programme in 2014.

The union said its members would not sit back and allow jobs to be cut, pay slashed and educational opportunities for the area to be so drastically reduced.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: “Further education colleges are experiencing difficult times thanks to big cuts in government funding. However, the pace and scale of the job losses at Leeds City College and Bradford College is astonishing.

“Colleges that are experiencing difficulties need to work with us to try and manage the situation. The last thing we can afford is knee-jerk job cuts that leave a lasting legacy on the local community.

“We believe cuts of this size would cause real damage to the region’s chances of offering high-quality training and education for students and local businesses. Furthermore, the loss of such a large number of skilled jobs will have a significant impact on the local economy.

“Industrial action is always a last resort, but UCU will be announcing a timetable for the ballots in the next few days and regrettably strike action cannot be ruled out at either college.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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