Strike action ballot at Mid Cheshire College in row over job losses

27 May 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU members at Mid Cheshire College have voted unanimously to ballot for strike action in the face of compulsory redundancies. The ballot will open on Thursday 4 June and close on Wednesday 17 June.

The college has announced job losses, but has not given details on where they would fall or why they had arisen, and has refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. UCU has highlighted Mid Cheshire College is in a good financial position, with cash reserves of £1.5million, and so should not have to force staff out of their jobs.

In response to questions from the union, the college said it was undergoing a review of its services and blamed a drop in government funding and student numbers for the cuts.

Government funding cuts will see college budgets slashed by an average of 17% from September. However, because of protections on apprenticeship funding, the budget for other types of adult education will be cut by up to 24%.

The union warned that many of the courses most at risk cater for people who missed out on qualifications at school, or those who need short bursts of learning to get back into employment.

Over 40,000 people have already signed a petition opposing the cuts announced at the end of last month. MPs also showed their opposition earlier this year by signing an early day motion that says further education is central to improving the nation's skills and calls on the government to rethink its plans.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: "We know Mid Cheshire College is in good financial shape so it shouldn't need to resort to forcing through compulsory job losses. The college has  generated much anxiety and anger by failing to provide staff with clear information on what's happening and why, and has compounded that by consistently refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies.

'Staff feel they now have no alternative but to ballot for industrial action. We remind the college that it's still not too late to enter into meaningful negotiations to find a way to avoid any disruption.'