Strike call over jobs axe plan

Lecturers at a London college are balloting on strike action over a radical recovery plan drawn up after auditors uncovered a Pounds 5 million legacy of debt, writes Ben Russell.

Kingsway College chief executive Richard Williams plans to sell three sites, cut 18 full-time teaching and management posts and 36 support staff, and axe 40 per cent of part-time lecturing hours.

The strike threat by lecturers' union NATFHE came after the news that part-time lecturers, most of them on permanent contracts, will be made redundant and replaced with staff hired through Education Lecturing Services.

Mr Williams was appointed last summer after inspectors gave college management a damning grade four. His audit team found the college was claiming for 17.5 per cent more work than it was actually carrying out - running up debts of Pounds 2.5m. Another Pounds 2.4m debt involved advances from the Further Education Funding Council to cover "chronic overspending".

But, he said, there were great opportunities to develop the college as a centre of excellence and focus its work on the local community.

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