College calls off staff cull

2nd October 1998 at 01:00
Reid Kerr College in Paisley has dramatically scaled down redundancy demands that would have seen almost a tenth of the staff paid off. Instead of axing 38 academic and eight support posts, the college now wants seven lecturers to leave after securing voluntary redundancy from eight support staff.

Reid Kerr says it still has to find savings of Pounds 829,000 in the current year after its Scottish Office grant was cut by Pounds 492,000 because student numbers grew by 6 per cent less than the FE average.

Paul Sinclair, the college secretary, says the initial targeting of 46 posts was always a "potential maximum". A policy of redeployment, better use of permanent staff and hiring fewer temporary staff had eased the situation. Student enrolment has also been slightly better than expected.

The Educational Institute of Scotland, which represents the majority of the lecturers, has sanctioned a ballot for industrial action. But the college branch has now put a vote on hold.

The talks take place against a backdrop of academic staff anger over a two-year pay freeze. But Matt Aird, the principal, says he has not had a rise for two years either and points out that lecturers have been offered a pay and conditions package at least three times, similar to one support staff have accepted.

Meanwhile Cambuslang College wants to shed seven lecturing posts. Robert Allan, the assistant principal, says this has nothing to do with a Scottish Office grant cut of Pounds 250,000 but because there are not enough students to form classes in a number of areas, including electronics, accounting, business studies and hospitality.

Mr Allan said that the resignations of the college chairman and vice-chairman were due to "pressures of work" and were not linked in any way.

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