Staff at Sheffield College voting in strike ballot over jobs row

18 December 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Members of the UCU at Sheffield College are voting on strike action in a row over job losses. The ballot closes on Thursday 8 January.

The college has warned that 75 jobs could go across a range of departments and has told the University and College Union (UCU) that it is looking to cut back on staff costs by a further £3.7m to build up reserves which would protect the college in the future.

The union expects the college to try and make the extra savings by restructuring staff and reemploying its current approach of sacking some staff and downgrading the pay and benefits of those who remain.

UCU wants the college to halt its punitive plans and look at ways to negotiate a fairer deal for staff. Instead of swinging the axe on front line teaching staff, the union says the college should offer a college-wide voluntary redundancy scheme which explores redeployment options for those affected, as well as reducing senior management costs.

The current proposals will reduce capacity across the college, impacting on teaching as well as the support mechanisms which help some of the college's most vulnerable students, including those who are deaf, visually impaired and dyslexic.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'The announcement of job cuts, shrinking provision and plans for further cuts are a bitter blow to staff who have worked hard to improve standards across the college.

'Staff are determined to protect quality, jobs and their conditions of service and feel they now have no option but to consider strike action. We are worried this represents only the first stage of a cuts programme that would result in the forced redundancy of a large number of staff, the downgrading of many others and reduced education and training opportunities for the people of Sheffield.'

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