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Taking action in higher education

Protests at Sandwell College in jobs loss row

7 July 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Staff and students from Sandwell College will join forces tomorrow for a lunchtime protest organised by members of UCU against job losses and course closures.

Protestors will take to the streets of West Bromwich to hand out leaflets to members of the public highlighting their plight and asking them to join the campaign.
At 12 noon protestors will walk along the High Street and give out leaflets that detail another round of job cuts at Sandwell College. The union has warned the college that it will ballot members for strike action unless it withdraws its threat for compulsory redundancies. Staff were informed last week that 93 posts will go as the college looks to make redundancies for the fifth year in a row.
Sandwell College works with some of the most underprivileged communities in the West Midlands and UCU said today that it is deeply concerned about the impact job losses will have on vital social programmes. Under the proposals Vocational Access Studies, which helps students with learning difficulties, will be closed, along with the college's nursery. 
UCU has accused management of using the current funding difficulties in the public sector as an excuse for making the cuts and said that the timing, just before staff and students go away for the summer, couldn't have been any more 'cynical'.
Michael Roche, UCU branch officer at Sandwell College, said: 'These job cuts are going to have a devastating effect on the local community, which already has one of the highest proportions of adults with no qualifications in the UK. Vocational Access Studies is a vital lifeline for learners in this area and it is shocking that management is looking to axe it and other vital services, such as the nursery, at time when we should be encouraging people back into education.'
UCU West Midlands regional support official, Teresa Corr, said: 'People have every right to be angry. These proposals are yet another kick in the teeth for staff and students who face a fifth consecutive year of job losses and courses closures. Members here at Sandwell have the full support of the national union. The timing of these plans couldn't be any more cynical'