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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 April 2010

Strike at Northumberland College

Lecturers at Northumberland College were on strike on 22 April for the future of the college. They are being threatened with pay cuts, increased workloads, and job losses.

Ian Pattison, Socialist Students and Newcastle Free Education Network

Toby Bell, UCU branch chair explained that some staff could face a 25% pay cut or 10,000 a year, and have their workloads increased by 5-10% from 825 hours annually to up to 1,000 annual hours for some.

Those that don't accept the double blow of less pay and more hours will lose their jobs. Every lecturer could potentially be made redundant, with only some re-hired on worse contracts. There is a lot of anger at the bullying attitude of management at Northumberland and that's why 90% were in favour of strike action on a 70% turnout, and 99% in favour of action short of strike.

Support staff at Northumberland College are mainly organised in Unison. They are also involved in a dispute to defend jobs and pay. Unison weren't out on strike, but fully supported the action taken by lecturers, and had been out on the picket lines with them early in the morning.

Students are very supportive of their lecturers, and completely opposed to the actions of management.

Northumberland College is a big employer in Ashington and hugely important for young people in the area.

The ineptness of management and their top-down attitude threatens all that.

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