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Taking action in higher education

Union counts personal costs of redundancies as college ploughs cash into buildings

2 July 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has encouraged sacked college staff to write personal letters to college governors explaining how their redundancy will affect them and their families.

A total of 13 staff at Chesterfield College received letters on the last day of term (Friday 28 June) telling them they had been made redundant. A further nine members of staff were told they would face cuts to their hours of between 20-75%.

The redundancies and cuts were announced as it was revealed that the college is investing huge sums of money in refurbishing its buildings.

On the day of the sackings, UCU organised a meeting with local MP Toby Perkins. During that meeting he promised to raise the union's concerns with the college, and to seek a meeting between the principal and the unions to try and resolve the dispute.

In the meantime, affected staff have been asked to outline the effect of these cuts on their personal circumstances and their families, and all letters received will be presented to the college governors at a meeting on 4 July.

At a demonstration on Monday, staff released a balloon for every member facing the sack.

UCU regional official, Anne O'Sullivan, said: 'There are some very sad and moving accounts among the letters that staff have written. They feel let down because they have lost their jobs but there's money in the pot for building work.

'Union members came up with the letters idea in a bid to convey the real human cost of redundancy to the people who help run this college. We hope that through influencing them and garnering the support of our MP, the college may reconsider its decision even at this late stage.'

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