Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/578/7252
Keep fighting for further education funding
Unison and other campus unions in Gorseinon college Swansea are once again having to campaign against the effects of funding cuts. On Friday 24 April union-organised protests took place at the college's outreach centre in Pontarddulais, Canolfan-Y-Bont and outside Labour Party Wales conference at the Guildhall.
Ronnie Job, Unison rep Gorseinon college, personal capacity
These were followed up with a 1 May demonstration at the Lifelong Learning Centre in Gorseinon.
Several hundred trade unionists, staff and students have now taken part in union-organised actions sending a clear message to politicians in Cardiff and management in the college, that we won't go away until funding is restored and all jobs saved.
We are still fighting, despite the announcement from the Assembly of additional funding for further education', made on 15 April.
The Welsh Assembly was forced into a partial u-turn on Further Education (FE) funding in Wales, coming up with an additional £8.93 million.
This, as reported previously, was entirely due to a high-profile campaign organised by stewards in Unison and UCU.
Unfortunately, having secured a partial victory, a part of the Wales leadership in both unions seems to consider the campaign is now over and any matters outstanding "a matter for local negotiation" in the words of one official.
But far from being new additional funds, the £8.93 million, which is to be shared between FE colleges and local authorities for school sixth forms, is simply the return of part of what was taken from the sector in the first place when over 7% was sliced off the funding allocations for 2009-10.
The result in Gorseinon college has been the announcement that we have entered into a 30 day consultation period over compulsory redundancies on top of already agreed voluntary redundancies. We also face the potential loss of one outreach centre.
Not only are education workers threatened with the sack but the scope of adult and community learning in the area will be much reduced.
The fact that we don't accept that the Welsh Assembly has given FE colleges in Wales enough cash to continue with the same level of provision, does not let our management off the hook.
We do not accept that the only choice they have in finding these savings is to sack our members.
Union members will be opposing management over the sacking of our colleagues by any means necessary, up to and including strike action, and campaigning for the Assembly to return the rest of the funds stolen from FE.
The success of campaigning before Easter shows the potential and the initiative that exists amongst union members. Campus stewards and union members, not just in Gorseinon, but in colleges across Wales should be proud of what we've achieved.
We need to carry the confidence we've gained into the current campaign.
We also need to raise the demand to reverse previous partial privatisation and end the status of colleges as independent corporations, returning them to local authority control.
For properly funded Further Education, publicly run and publicly accountable!
In The Socialist 6 May 2009:
Defend victimised trade unionist
No 2 EU - Yes to Democracy
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