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North East colleges to stage lunchtime protests

5 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Members of UCU at colleges across the North East will be supporting colleagues on strike in London today.

Staff at Redcar and Cleveland College, Middlesbrough College, South Tyneside College and Bishop Auckland College will be holding lunchtime events where they will get messages from staff to send to the new government opposing proposed cuts to education budgets.
 
The events will be an opportunity for all staff, students and members of the local community to show their support for further education and the vital role that colleges play educating and training so many people.
 
The protests will take place at:

  • Redcar and Cleveland College - at the college gate from 12 noon
  • Middlesbrough College - outside the college (town entrance) from 12 noon
  • South Tyneside College - from 12.15 by the college gate
  • Bishop Auckland College - from 12 noon at the college main entrance

Last month Redcar and Cleveland College announced that up to 50 jobs could go at the college. Staff at the college have been called to a hastily announced meeting at the end of today by the principal. In a further blow for an area with high unemployment, around 60 jobs are at risk of redundancy at South Tyneside College. Almost 150 people have received letters informing them that they are at risk of losing their jobs.

At Middlesbrough College the principal has informed staff that funding cuts will hit the college, but union representatives have not yet been given full details.  Last week the Branch voted overwhelmingly to prepare for a ballot for industrial action should there be compulsory job losses. At Bishop Auckland College 120 jobs are at risk. Consultations between the unions and college managers are continuing in attempt to resolve the matter.

UCU regional official Jon Bryan said: 'All the tough talk about education cuts has moved on and it is no longer just figures on paper. People are losing their jobs and access to education is disappearing. We believe in the power of education to make a real difference to people's lives and do not think we should be slashing funding at a time when more people than ever need access to education.

'UCU members are still on the side of education and we will be fighting to save jobs and defend education.'

Colleges and universities in London are being hit with the most widespread disruption for over two years today as UCU members in two universities and 11 colleges go on strike. Classes will be cancelled as staff walk out across the capital.

UCU members will be on picket lines from first thing in the morning and then make their way to King's College London on the Strand for a march through central London. There is also strike action taking place at the University of Sussex and a march and rally in Brighton.

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