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Union fears more disputes as funding cuts hit jobs

Lecturers are braced for a summer of redundancy disputes as the effects of further education funding cuts begin to be felt.

With at least nine colleges so far planning redundancies, the University and College Union has threatened a strike ballot at one, City College Birmingham.

The union said it fears the situation will worsen next month as more colleges examine their budgets and are forced to make cuts.

A survey for the Association of Colleges last month found that most expected budget cuts of 9 per cent for employer-responsive learning and 4 per cent for other adult courses, while also finding Pounds 240 million of efficiency savings.

Barry Lovejoy, head of FE at the UCU, said: "We are looking very carefully at this. We have some major concerns that we may see further worrying developments."

Warnings over redundancies have been sounded at Solihull College, where more than 100 jobs are at risk because of cuts to adult education funding and a decision by the local council to put out to tender the adult learning that the college provides on its behalf.

The UCU says it has also been warned of planned job losses at Warwickshire, Northumberland and Stratford-upon-Avon colleges. Others planning redundancies include York, Worcester, West Anglia and Stoke-on- Trent, although not all involve teaching posts.

City College Birmingham has planned 74 redundancies, after a cull of 75 last year. David Gibson, the principal, said the college had to restore financial viability after years of underperformance or even more jobs would be at risk.

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