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Strike action vote in jobs cut row at Grimsby Institute

3 June 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Members of UCU at Grimsby Institute are today being balloted for strike action in a row over job losses and cuts to staff pay and conditions.

Staff are furious that the college is using national funding cuts as an excuse to axe one in five teaching staff, despite spending less on staff than the national average. As well as the job losses the union says the college is seeking to rip up workload agreements, slash staff pay and ride roughshod over employment rights.

According to the latest accounts (up to 31 July 2012), Grimsby Institute spent 52.1% of its income on staff costs in 2011-12, against a sector average for comparable further education colleges of 61.5%. In that financial year it made a surplus of £3.7m and (as of 31 July 2012) held reserves of £19.6m.

During 2012, the college made a significant number of staff redundant at both Grimsby and its Scarborough campuses, which included shutting A-level courses at Grimsby. UCU is worried that the quality of education at the college will be affected by job losses, inevitable bigger classes, and increased workloads for the staff that remain.

The strike ballot will close on Friday 14 June with the result expected that afternoon. In further bad news for Grimsby Institute, UCU members at the Yorkshire Coast College in Scarborough - who are also employed by Grimsby Institute - have voted to move to an official dispute over job losses and are expected to be balloted for strike action.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'The government's punitive cuts agenda is causing problems for colleges across the country. However, we do not believe knee-jerk cuts are the answer when the college has millions in the bank.

'In tough economic times Grimsby Institute should be doing everything possible to support and enhance the local economy by providing educational opportunities to the community. Making staff redundant and cutting courses benefit no-one.

'Strike action is always a last resort, but axing jobs, cutting pay and ignoring people's rights will do nothing for the reputation of Grimsby Institute.'

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