Lecturers' union criticises threat to jobs

First published in News

A COLLEGE'S warning to more than 100 staff that their jobs are at risk has been criticised by union officials.

The University and College Union (UCU) said it was particularly unhappy with the “cynical timing” of the announcement as Stockton Riverside College broke up for the holidays.

The UCU said 119 employees, including many lecturers, had been told they would have to re-apply for their jobs with a pay cut of up to as much as £10,000 a year.

But college principal Phil Cook insisted that the “worst case scenario” would be ten job losses out of a total of 461 college staff.

The college also insists that the total figure of staff told their jobs are at risk is 113.

The announcement came just the college improved its Ofsted rating and avoided heading into special measures.

UCU regional official, Iain Owens said: “This is an unbelievably cynical move by the college. Staff have a right to be treated properly and fairly.

"However, the college has taken the coward’s approach and hit staff with this devastating news just as they break up for the summer.

“Our members have worked incredibly hard to ensure the people of Stockton have good quality post-school education.

"Telling staff heading off on holiday that they may not have a job when they return, and if they do they will have a considerable pay cut, is unacceptable.”

Mr Cook said college officials have been in discussions with the UCU and other unions since June in an attempt to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies.

“We believe the worst case scenario to be ten staff being made redundant out of a total of 461 college staff; we fully expect this to be less,” said Mr Cook.

“There are, however, an additional 14 job opportunities currently available and over the next year staff numbers employed by the college will in fact increase. We are disappointed that we need to lose valued staff but it is simply not possible to keep the status quo.

“The vast majority of staff will receive the same or increased salaries, with the slim possibility that a few will have reduced salaries.”

Mr Cook added: “The situation is not ideal but I am certain that we can deal with the national funding cuts without an impact on the quality of education.”

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