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FE lecturers to vote on industrial action over redundancies

15 June 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

Lecturers at Stoke-on-Trent College will be balloted for industrial action after their management announced it will press ahead with compulsory redundancies even though it has already saved £2m through shedding staff this year.

Stoke-on-Trent College has saved £2m as 80 jobs have been lost through voluntary redundancies and a freeze on teaching and support posts.

The college's management first made its redundancy proposals in March 2006 after the Staffordshire Learning and Skills Council told it to refocus its funding. This is in line with a new government strategy for further education which means colleges must prioritise courses that improve skills and employability - often at the expense of broader adult education.

But now the senior management is pressing ahead with consultation on compulsory redundancies even though UCU and other staff unions have presented concrete proposals which would avoid the need for such job losses.

Simultaneously, the management is pushing ahead on a massive rebuilding of the college's Burslem campus which will cost some £500,000 per year in debt repayments. And it is refusing to halt early repayment of a bank loan despite incurring a £400,000 early repayment charge.

Chris May, UCU regional official in the West Midlands, said: 'Through working with the management, UCU and UNISON have helped this college save nearly £2m in staff costs. What our members are now saying loud and clear is that enough is enough!

'For most students it is the teachers and support staff who make life at Stoke-on-Trent College rewarding and fulfilling. Yet lecturers are being threatened with redundancy at the same time as the college is ploughing ahead with grandiose and expensive building schemes. To those members of staff faced with the sack, it seems that the college is throwing the baby out with the bath water and that its management has lost track of reality.'