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Taking action in higher education

Strike action votes at four of West Midlands' biggest colleges

13 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today announced that members at four of the largest colleges in the West Midlands have voted overwhelmingly in favour to ballot for strike action if the threat of compulsory redundancies is not removed.

At well-attended meetings at City College Wolverhampton, South Birmingham College, Birmingham Metropolitan College and City College Birmingham there was clear anger at the employers' proposals to sack lecturing staff.
The colleges will be issued with the union's notice to ballot next week with a likely deadline of Tuesday 25 May to remove the threat of compulsory redundancies. If the deadline is not met then there will be ballots of UCU members for strike action. Those ballots would close on Wednesday 9 June with any action likely to take place before the end of the month.
Birmingham Metropolitan College has announced plans to make up to 100 job cuts and City College Wolverhampton has said that it is looking to make savings of £3 million with 160 posts at risk. UCU says that the cuts would hit some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Midlands.
UCU regional official for the West Midlands, Nick Varney, said: 'We are not unreasonable and we do accept that there will have to be difficult decisions made. What we do not, and will not, accept is colleges using funding cuts to unnecessarily sack staff or hold a gun to the heads of staff who fear for their livelihoods.
'What we want is a sensible approach from colleges to work through those difficult decisions with us. Yet some colleges seem hell-bent on using the excuse of funding cuts to introduce unfair selection criteria so that they can sack teachers with minimum compensation.
'Not only will that approach put hundreds of trained teachers on to the dole, it will also mean the end of educational opportunities for thousands of people in some of the most deprived areas. Our members have made it crystal clear that they will fight for their students and for their jobs.'