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Strike ballot at south London college in row over job losses and course cuts

1 July 2013

Members of UCU at a south London college are being balloted for strike action in a row over job cuts.

The result of the ballot at LeSoCo - a merger of Lewisham College and Southwark College with campuses in Lewisham, Deptford, Waterloo, Bermondsey and Camberwell - will be known on Friday (5 July).

Staff are angry at proposals to axe around 35 posts and abolish science and floristry courses. The union said the college's claim that the courses were undersubscribed did not stand up to scrutiny. Both floristry and science courses at the college have had more applications than this time last year.

The union said the college's plans had left some students in limbo as they could not enrol for the next year of their course as it is still unclear if the course will be running next year. There are also threats to disband the successful 'Access to Higher Education' teaching team and to reduce the amount of time students spend in the classroom with a teacher.

UCU added that the college had not carried out a proper consultation and, despite several formal requests, college governors have refused to meet UCU representatives to discuss a way forward.

UCU regional official for London, Chris Powell, said: 'Despite LeSoCo's vision of the future being marketed as 'meeting the needs of local communities of south east London', the college is proposing to cut popular courses and axe staff.

'We have serious concerns about the whole consultation process and the college's reasons for the changes simply do not stand up to scrutiny and are leaving some students in limbo. UCU members at LeSoCo have put forward counter proposals to the college and been ignored. Strike action is always a last resort, but they feel they have no alternative now to try and defend their jobs and the education of their students.'

Last updated: 10 December 2015