Management at Sheffield College have gone on a vicious job cutting offensive, under the guise of voluntary redundancies.
In April the CEO of the College (pretty well off on a salary of £140,000 a year) announced the college’s intention to get rid of 60 teaching staff and a further 60 support staff. Up until now the college has used a voluntary redundancy scheme to try and tempt people out without a fight, but with the threat of compulsory redundancies to come.
Sheffield College UCU decided to ballot against the threat of compulsory redundancies and members agreed, with an 84% yes vote in the ballot. Two weeks ago there was rolling strike action across the colleges, with a day in each of the three colleges. As a result management has extended the voluntary redundancy scheme, also offering members the “choice” of taking a voluntary reduction in hours. However, the CEO is refusing to take the option of compulsory redundancies off the table, so UCU voted to take another week of rolling action starting this Thursday.
Situations like this are cropping up everywhere across the country, as the budgets of schools, colleges and universities are squeezed by the funding gap left by government cuts. We say that there should be no job cuts; any job losses affect the quality and extent of education provided. Voluntary redundancies are being used as the first offensive by management, trying to force people out.
Disputes like that at Rawmarsh school in Rotherham have shown that strong union organisation, an injection of strike pay from the union, and a commitment to fight until the end wins disputes over redundancies.
• Messages of solidarity can be sent to the secretary of the UCU coordinating committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org