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UCU votes for strike action over job cuts at Sheffield College

Members of the University and College Union at The Sheffield College have backed strike action in a row over job losses.

The union said 86 per cent of members who voted supported taking strike action over the college’s plan to cut up to 75 jobs across a range of departments to save £3.7 million.

Some 95 per cent of UCU members supported action short of a strike, which could see staff working strictly to contract and boycotting the systems being used by the college to target staff for redundancy.

Members of the union are due to meet next week to discuss their next moves, and when any action might start.

Today the college said there would only be 15 compulsory redundancies, as a result of some staff taking voluntary redundancy, reducing their contracted hours or securing different roles in the college.

But UCU called on the college to halt its plans. “The college needs to listen to its staff and come back to the table to look again at its punitive proposals," said regional official Julie Kelley. "Shedding such large numbers of staff will result in fewer courses, affect quality and risks causing serious damage the college’s reputation.

Heather MacDonald, chief executive of The Sheffield College, said she was “disappointed” in UCU’s decision given the impact it will have on students.

“We are in a satisfactory financial position, however the FE sector has to become more self sufficient and less reliant on government funding as this recedes year on year,” she said.

“In common with colleges nationally, The Sheffield College is facing a significant drop in government funding - approximately £4 million during the next two years.

“By taking considered action now, we will save costs and generate additional income and reserves. This will enable us to invest in new expertise, our staff and facilities to ensure we are fit for the future.”

“Strong support” would remain in place for students with special needs," she added.


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