MSPs urged to protect 100 FE college staff from redundancy

22nd June 2001 at 01:00
The Parliament's enterprise and lifelong learning committee is being urged to intervene to protect 100 staff in two west of Scotland further education college from redundancy.

The committee, which is to conduct a lifelong learning inquiry, will also be pressed to conduct a "root and branch review" of FE, including funding arrangements and the structure of college boards seen by the unions as "undemocratic."

Lecturers from eight colleges, accompanied by James Higney, the president of the College Lecturers' Association, are to meet MSPs next Thursday. The CLA claims about 45 jobs are at risk in Langside College in Glasgow and between 50 and 60 posts in Clydebank College.

Clydebank College confirmed the union's figures but said that the potential redundancies are "speculative". Clydebank is having to deal with a projected inancial deficit of pound;1.1 million for 2001-02 and has been offered only a 0.8 per cent increase in its grant for next session. It has also been hit by a claw-back of pound;250,000 for falling short of student targets for this financial year.

Graeme Hyslop, principal of Langside, blamed factors "outwith the college's direct control" but insisted it wanted to avoid compulsory redundancies. It lost European Social Fund income of pound;400,000 and another pound;1 million because the FE funding council refused to reimburse the college for fees waived to help disadvantaged students. Staff expenditure was also too high compared with other colleges.

But the CLA branch at Langside blames bad management of the college's finances at a time when student enrolments had risen by 16 per cent.

No joy from the Minister:FE Focus, page 38

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