LECTURERS AT a college in the FE minister's constituency are balloting for a strike over plans to demote more than a third of them to the level of teaching assistants.
Harlow College in Essex, where Bill Rammell is MP, has told all of its 205 teaching staff to reapply for their jobs on new terms and conditions or leave.
The University and College Union says that, for more than a third of lecturers, the new contracts will mean pay dropping by up to pound;10,000 for a six-day working week of up to 56 hours. A meeting of 95 union members last Thursday voted unanimously to ballot for industrial action.
Elizabeth Martins, regional organiser for the UCU, said: "The principal wants a college where nobody challenges him and where people are just nodding puppets."
Fixed holidays will be scrapped. Lecturers will have to apply for time off and their holiday allow-ance is being cut by three weeks.
Colin Hindmarch, the college principal, said most staff would see their pay go up and students would benefit from a rigorous focus on results. "It's projected that we will be spending more on staff next year. This is not an exercise in cost cutting. The driving force is student success," he said.