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Taking action in higher education

Strike action votes at three of West Midlands biggest colleges

28 May 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Staff at three of the West Midlands largest further education colleges will be balloted for industrial action from today.

Members of UCU at City College Birmingham, Birmingham Metropolitan College and Wolverhampton College look set to take strike action next month after the colleges refused to lift their threat of compulsory redundancies.
The colleges were issued with the union's notice to ballot last week but failed to meet the deadline set for today. The ballot will close on Wednesday 16 June. The union has accused the colleges of using the current funding difficulties in further education as an excuse to make cuts and said there was clear anger at the employers' proposals to sack lecturing staff.
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. City College Birmingham is planning to get rid of 78 posts and to close its supported learning provision for adults.    
UCU says that the cuts would hit some of the most vulnerable communities in the West Midlands. A planned ballot at South Birmingham College was called off today after the college agreed to enter in talks with the union and remove the threat of immediate compulsory redundancies.
UCU regional official for the West Midlands, Nick Varney, said: 'It is a great shame that things have had to come to this. We are not blind to the troubles facing the further education sector and realise 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.
'Let's be clear about what is at stake here. We are facing the frightening prospect of hundreds of trained teachers going on to the dole, and educational opportunities for thousands of people in some of the most deprived areas being at risk. Our members will do all they can to fight for their students and for their jobs.'