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Staff at Sheffield College vote for strike action in row over jobs

9 January 2015

UCU members at Sheffield College have overwhelmingly backed strike action in a row over job losses.

86% of members who voted backed strike action and 95% supported action short of 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. UCU said the huge mandate for action meant the college now had to come back and negotiate seriously about job losses and its future plans.

The college has said that 75 jobs could go across a range of departments and has warned it is looking to cut back on staff costs by a further £3.7m to build up reserves. UCU said it fears the college will try and make the extra savings by sacking some staff and downgrading the pay and benefits of those who remain.

The union wants the college to halt its current plans to axe jobs and look at ways to deliver a fairer deal for staff. The union says the college should offer a college-wide voluntary redundancy scheme, which explores redeployment options for those affected, and reduce senior management costs.

The union says the loss of significant numbers of staff will impact on the range of courses available and particularly affect the college's most vulnerable learners, including those who are deaf, visually impaired and dyslexic.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'UCU members at Sheffield College have made it quite clear that they oppose the college's plans to cuts jobs and slash terms and conditions. The ballot result shows they are prepared to take strike action to defend their jobs and those of their colleagues.

'The college needs to listen to its staff and come back to the table to look again at its punitive proposals. Shedding such large numbers of staff will result in fewer courses, affect quality and risks causing serious damage the college's reputation.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015