Hundreds set to lose their jobs

28th June 1996 at 01:00
Worst-case predictions of job losses in the FE sector are set to be exceeded as colleges facing the tightest funding squeeze announce hundreds of redundancies.

Cuts in both staffing and courses are starker than ever this year, say principals. While some are being forced to act to recover from weak financial positions, others with healthier balance sheets claim they are having to take drastic steps now to avoid disaster.

Some plan sweeping redundancies affecting up to 200 staff in a single institution, others intend to close main sites and cut entire programme areas.

Total job losses in the sector for 1995-96 are on course to outstrip the 1,500 predicted by the lecturers' union NATFHE. It accurately forecast 1,500 redundancies last year.

Colleges in the North-west are among those feeling the brunt of the cuts. In Merseyside, at least 200 jobs are under threat at Wirral Metropolitan College under moves to slash Pounds 3.5 million - 15 per cent - from next year's budget.

The losses will include 65 voluntary redundancies from the college's full-time academic staff, plus almost all part-timers and a tenth of support staff.

Governors are expected to endorse a decision to close one of the college's four main sites in line with a Further Education Funding Council plan to reduce its accommodation by a third.

Wirral principal Jenny Shackleton said the college recognised it had to take "forthright action".

Neighbouring City of Liverpool Community College is also planning cuts. It proposes closing a major site and is seeking 40 voluntary redundancies among teaching and support staff by August.

In Manchester 90 redundancies are planned at City College, where managers are talking with unions about absorbing the cuts through voluntary departures. Principal Dave Gibson said "If we don't take action now, it will be disaster later."

Across the Pennines at The Sheffield College, job losses - which come on top of 100 voluntary redundancies in the past year - are part of a wide-ranging package of cuts to reduce a Pounds 3.8m deficit.

Some of the giant college's 117 local sites will be shut, less popular curriculum areas such as construction will be cut back and charges will be introduced in the cr che. Principal Ken Ruddiman said there was no figure on planned job cuts but losses would be "significant".

At Yorkshire Coast College, 27 support staff are to go as the college embarks on its second recovery plan. The first plan led to 60 redundancies.

Some NATFHE members at Soundwell College, Bristol, are in the second week of a strike over plans to shed 34 full-time academic staff.

At the College of North East London, Bernie Grant MP was due to speak this week at a meeting over plans to shed 45 lecturing and support staff and close a site.

John Brennan, Association for Colleges policy director, said: "The squeeze is beginning to bite now in a really severe way."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today