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UCU condemns Leeds college job cuts as attack on women

20 May 2021

UCU has condemned a restructure plan by Luminate Education (previously Leeds City College Group) which will see 39 jobs cut across multiple sites including Leeds and Harrogate colleges, 90% of which are filled by women.

The proposals would affect adult & community learning and hair and beauty staff across Leeds, as well as business and learning support staff at Harrogate College.

Posts will also be cut across a number of sites in Leeds including at Mabgate, Beeston and Rothwell, where jobs in adult and community education will go.  83% of the staff at risk of redundancy are aged over 45.

Any new alternative posts created in the restructure will have reduced pay and changes to terms and conditions - including in some cases increased responsibilities and duties.

The college has been purposefully slow to present information to staff resulting in some being pressured into making early decisions about their future.    

UCU said the huge proportion of older female staff being cut means the college could face legal action over gender and age related discrimination. The union called for the decision to be reversed and for management to guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies. UCU also condemned the lack of proper consultation with staff and is calling for the consultation period to be extended beyond 24 May.

UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: 'Luminate Education Group's plans to make 39 staff, most of whom are older women, redundant is wrong and potentially discriminatory on the grounds of gender and age. The college must stop pressurising staff members to volunteer for redundancy or submit applications for new jobs in new structures that are not fully finalised with on poorer terms and conditions.

'We call on college management to work with us to find an alternative to the job cuts, to protect pay and conditions and in the meantime extend the current consultation period to give staff more time to examine proposals, suggest alternatives and also consider their options'.

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