1:04pm Tuesday 13th May 2014
UNION members at Mid Cheshire College are threatening to hold a strike ballot over possible job losses.
The staff are members of the University and College Union (UCU), and are pledging to fight any plans for compulsory redundancies.
They have also not ruled out balloting for strike action in a row over job cuts.
The union told the Guardian this week that the college has stated that it expects 30 staff to be made redundant, but has not said in which areas the axe will fall.
The college said it recently received notification of a significant reduction in its funding for 16 to 18-year-olds and adults for 2014/15.
“The allocations represent a combined reduction in funding of about 15 per cent (£1.5 million), compared with the allocations received for 2013/14,” said the college.
“This presents another significant challenge for the college, particularly after receiving a similar size cut in its funding last year.
“As a consequence the college faces a major challenge to ensure it remains financially stable over the forthcoming years, and will therefore need to make significant savings to achieve a balanced budget.
“At the same time the college will need to continue to seek ways to generate new sources of income.”
The college said the reductions in funding were as a result of the Government’s continuing plans to cut back on public expenditure, and it was consulting with the UCU, Unison and AMiE trade unions to discuss ways in which, together, it could avert the need to make any compulsory redundancies.
College principal Richard Hollywood said: “There will be no single action that will bring about the savings required, and therefore we are looking at a number of ways by which we can reduce expenditure while not affecting the learner experience and the high standards we have established.
“The college will endeavour to limit the impact on staff and students. School funding continues to be protected, and so colleges such as Mid Cheshire are at the sharp end of the public funding cuts.”
The UCU union said the college, which has campuses in Hartford and Winsford, should be doing all it can to protect educational opportunities for people in Northwich.
“It is true that Government cuts are making life difficult for colleges at the moment,” said UCU regional official Martyn Moss.
“However the last thing we need is knee-jerk reactions which see staff lose their jobs and courses potentially shut down.
“It’s a tough world out there, and people need to know their local college is on their side and can still provide vital educational opportunities to help them get on. Staff at the college have made it clear they will fight any plans for compulsory redundancies.”
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