Teaching staff stage protest over job offers at redundancy-threat college

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LECTURERS have staged a protest after teaching staff at threat of redundancy were contacted by a recruitment agency telling them jobs were available at the same college.

The University and College Union staged a spontaneous demonstration outside Leeds City College’s Park Lane campus yesterday to coincide with talks between union officials and college management.

Union regional official John Giddins said: “People who are in redundancy pools have been contacted by the Protocol National agency not only saying that there are jobs available in Leeds City College but in their subject area. It has made people very angry when they are potentially going through a redundancy process.”

Mr Giddins said that at one stage 157 staff had been placed in redundancy pools from which cuts would be made. However he said this has been reduced following talks and voluntary redundancies.

He said that if the college were filling posts while making redundancies it should carry out a skills audit to see if any existing staff could switch jobs.

Mr Giddins said jobs at risk included lecturers, assessors and curriculum leaders’ posts.

A Leeds College spokeswoman said that it was having to make £2m staff savings in order to cope with a £6m funding cut for 2012-13.

She added: “The college has been working hard to minimise this and following a formal 45-day consultation period with staff, meetings with recognised trade unions on a regular basis and voluntary redundancy and severance schemes, the initial number of posts at risk was reduced from 95 to 85 and we have already reduced this number significantly.

In addition, 35 staff have already accepted voluntary redundancy. Of the remaining 50 posts at risk, 24 are teaching staff posts spread across seven areas and 26 are support staff posts. Not all are full time.

“We anticipate these numbers will further reduce in the coming weeks.”

She also told the Yorkshire Post that the college had not authorised the recruitment agency Protocol National to include it in recent advertisements.

“We have instructed them not to link vacancies to the college, while we continue to work on our current business changes,” she added.

The college was formed in 2009 from a merger of Leeds College of Technology, Leeds Thomas Danby and Park Lane College Leeds and Keighley. Last year it also merged with Joseph Priestley College in Leeds and it also owns Leeds College of Music as a separate entity.