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Three day strike to stop redundancies at Sheffield College
College lecturers in Sheffield, members of the University and College Union (UCU), have just taken three days of strike action against threatened compulsory redundancies.
Sheffield College management wanted to make 120 full-time staff redundant, including 60 lecturers. UCU members held a one-day strike in April and have now held a programme of rolling one-day strikes across the three college directorates: City, Hillsborough and Norton.
The director-general of Sheffield College (sounds very corporate - it is!), who gave herself a 14% pay rise last year (salary now over £140,000) says that the job losses are necessary because of funding cuts.
But a branch official at Hillsborough college told me that the College is also servicing £18 million in bank loans as a result of a nearly 100% overspend on the new City college building.
The Directorate have got a nice, new, showy building but lecturers are paying for it in job losses!
He also said that this is the eighth round of job losses since 1988 with the number of lecturers being halved in that time, with the consequent cut in courses and teaching time for students.
And the scrapping of EMA, which 51% of Sheffield College students have been getting, mostly at the full rate of £30 a week, will impact massively on student numbers attending next year and lead to a further fall in funding.
This is why the UCU members are so determined to stop these compulsory redundancies. 30-40 lecturers supported the Hillsborough college picket line on 19 May and around 20 at Norton college on the 20th.
Further planned strikes at the beginning of next week have been suspended while talks take place but if they fail then the UCU will be back out on strike on 26/27 May.
Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2011-05-20 17:13:14 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.