Staff went on strike at City College Brighton and Hove today (Tuesday 10 June) in protest at cuts to courses and staff numbers.
The college remained open although some classes were cancelled.
Principal Lynn Thackway said: “It’s regrettable that this strike is inconveniencing students at a crucial time in the academic year.”
The strike was called by the University and College Union (UCU). Members picketed college buildings, including the Pelham Tower in Pelham Street, Brighton. They also held a lunchtime rally in nearby Jubilee Square.
The union said: “Staff are furious that the management have failed to listen to concerns about impacts of the cuts on the most vulnerable students.
“Even with the recently agreed ‘concessions’, the management are still planning devastating cuts to provision for the people of Brighton and Hove.
“Two hundred and twenty staff at the college have been told: ‘The proposed new structure does not have a role which is an obvious match for you.’
“Support for the most vulnerable students is to be cut by two thirds.
— Linda Taylor (@linda_taylor1) June 10, 2014
“This means that learners with mental health issues, disabilities, extra study support needs, safeguarding concerns, cared-for learners, right across all departments and courses will be at a much higher risk of dropping out or failing their course.
“The safeguarding risks that this poses will have a negative impact on future students and Ofsted grades.
“The number of courses for adults with learning disabilities are planned to be greatly reduced (and) fees will be introduced.
“Increases in the teaching load for team leaders will result in students and staff suffering due to lack of support.
“We anticipate more long-term sickness and higher staff turnover – not least for team leaders themselves, who will have an impossible workload.
“Courses being delivered in far fewer guided learning hours will further add to a lack of support for more needy learners as staff will have to teach more courses to reach their teaching hours target and will have a far higher workload in terms of marking, admin, recruitment and other non-teaching tasks.”
Lynn Thackway said: “Although we understand the position of UCU members in regards to proposed changes to staffing at the college and fully respect their right to strike, it’s regrettable that this strike is inconveniencing students at a crucial time in the academic year and is also occurring while the consultation process is ongoing and its final outcome is yet to be confirmed.
“The aim of the consultation period is to reach mutual agreement to minimise the overall number of job losses at the college and we remain optimistic that a satisfactory outcome is achievable which is acceptable to management and unions alike.”