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Date: 1 June 2009

Telford UNISON members vote to fight job cuts as college bosses get big rises

UNISON members at Edinburgh’s Telford College have voted overwhelmingly to campaign against redundancies and the imminent privatisation of jobs over the next two weeks before any meaningful consultation with the union.

The union has warned that the cuts and restructurings risk creating chaos in the day to day running of the college putting courses at risk and affecting students.

In the result of a consultative ballot announced today, 98% voted for possible action on a 71% turnout of the 128 members at the college. The union will now seek further negotiations before considering whether to go to a formal ballot.

John Ross, UNISON Edinburgh Branch Service Conditions Convener, said, "This result shows how angry our members are after senior managers shocked the workforce by announcing compulsory redundancies in an unprecedented move to reduce a forecast deficit of £2.9 million for this year.

"Apparently the college has been running at a loss over the past two years but it was not made public until two weeks ago when it was revealed in staff briefings. This is astonishing given the college’s lead role in the regeneration of North Edinburgh."

"We have been told that 12 middle manager posts are to go due to a £300,000 cut planned by a review of the college’s support staff structure On top of this, lower paid staff are to have their ‘unsocial hours’ shift allowance stopped at the end of July."

"Our members who accepted a 3% rise last year are particularly angry that 28 senior managers will get substantial salary increases at the end of July 2009, while the assistant principals have enjoyed a 32% salary increase over the past three years. Management have said that they are ‘comfortable’ with these decisions."

John Ross added: "We understand we are in a recession but as we see so often this looks like senior managers rewarding themselves for failure."

Staff have told UNISON that, despite regularly restructuring over the past 10 years, the college has repeatedly failed to introduce systems that allowed staff to function efficiently. Over the past two weeks the management has set up yet another review and restructuring to arrive at their current proposals.

Even more restructurings are proposed with the threat of further job losses yet to come. After the failure over the past 10 years, staff have lost all confidence in the management’s ability to arrive at a workable solution.

"Our members are asking, if the college management can’t get it right in 10 years what chance have they got of doing so in two weeks?" said Mr Ross.


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