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Taking action in higher education

Protest and strike action ballot at Northumberland College in job cuts row

17 March 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Members of UCU will be demonstrating outside Northumberland College in Ashington at 12.30 tomorrow lunchtime. The union is also balloting its members for strike action in protest at the college's plans to sack all teaching staff and reemploy some of them on lower pay and with longer hours.

If the 250 staff do reapply for their jobs, as well as lower pay and longer hours, they will also be expected to pick up other duties as the college also announced that two-thirds of the clerical staff were at risk of redundancy (108 out of 159).
 
The union has described the college's plans as a real smack in the face for education in the region. Northumberland College is the only general further education college in the county and provides education to students from Berwick to Hexham, including at the Kirkley Hall Agricultural College in Ponteland.
 
From tomorrow members of UCU at Northumberland College are being balloted for industrial action. The ballot closes on Thursday 1 April and the result is expected the same day. UCU said it owed it to students and the local community to defend the college and its ability to offer a deliver high quality education.
 
Iain Owens, UCU regional official, said: 'UCU members at Northumberland College are understandably furious at plans to sack them and reinstate some of them on worse pay and conditions. The college has shown absolute contempt for its staff, its students and the local community. This is a real smack in the face for education in the region.
 
'There has been no consultation with the union on these plans, which is simply outrageous. We will be fighting this decision all the way as we have not given up on the college's students or its reputation yet. The fight back starts with our protest and ballot for industrial action.'
 
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