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Barnsley College slammed over job cuts as union warns of strike action

5 June 2009 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today warned Barnsley College it could face industrial disruption if it goes ahead with controversial plans for job cuts. Staff have been told that 53 posts will go and that some lecturers will be replaced by lower skilled assessors, as the college looks to re-organise.

The union has accused the college of failing to meet its legal requirements regarding consulting about the losses. It further warned that the planned redundancies would have a devastating impact on the local area. Barnsley is one of 144 colleges to have been hit by the buildings crisis in further education, which has seen severe funding delays for approved college building plans. The union said today that staff are understandably furious that they are being made to pay the price after the college took out a £10 million loan to build a new building.
UCU regional official for Barnsley, Russ Escritt, said: 'The college failed to act within the law when informing us about these cuts. Staff are more important than buildings and the college simply cannot justify making people redundant. It would be a disaster for students and the local area. Barnsley needs a strong teaching force, not a slimmed down one. We will strongly resist any threat of compulsory redundancies and we urge the college to think again. It is also unacceptable to replace lecturers with assessors, which is nothing more than trying to do teaching on the cheap'.
UCU head of further education Barry Lovejoy said: 'This is an ill-thought out, knee-jerk reaction. Rather that panicking the college should ensure it meets its legal requirements by entering in to meaningful consultations with UCU on ways to avoid job losses. Make no mistake the college is risking industrial action if it fails to step back on these proposals'.