The Northern Region of UCU notes the recent 24% adult funding cut and the devastating impact this will have on both colleges and adults who wish to re-enter education to further their careers. It calls upon the government to invest in Further Education, not cut, at a time when an ever-changing jobs market requires colleges to be able to offer a wide ranging and flexible curriculum.
The Region also notes the impact these cuts have had, and will continue to have, on an already stretched and stressed workforce. Whilst funding cuts do impact on colleges, UCU calls upon senior managers to make the right choices when it comes to operating on less money. Attacks on working terms and conditions, as seen at South Tyneside College and Bishop Auckland College, are completely unacceptable. Compulsory downgrading, as seen at Stockton Riverside, South Tyneside College, East Durham College and Derwentside College, will lead to a demotivated workforce being asked to do more for less. Added to this, job losses across the board, including at Sunderland, Tyne Met, Newcastle, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool, Darlington, and Cleveland College of Art and Design, will only further continue this race to the bottom.
The Region also notes the lack of restructuring on the part of senior management, in many of these institutions. Those with the broadest shoulders should carry the largest weight. However, in all too many colleges, this is not the case. UCU condemns the current approach taken by many senior management teams, and we offer solidarity to all those affected. We will continue to fight for better working conditions for our members at a time when many colleges see fit to lay cuts, yet again, upon the academic workforce.
Statement written by Adam Peacock, UCU Branch Secretary at South Tyneside College and approved by FE Sector Committee Secretary Cath Hepburn on behalf of UCU Northern Region
Statement available to download Press Release 29th June 2015 FE Sector