Land-based college faces restructure

Union meets management at Otley College to discuss job losses and salary cuts

Financial problems at a land-based college may lead to 45 job losses. Management and union officials from Otley College, in Suffolk, will meet today (26 September) to discuss the cuts. A National Association for Teachers in Further Edu- cation (NATFE) executive member says eight staff have already taken voluntary redundancy. New college principal Philip Winfield — replacing John Pearson, who left last month — has told staff the job losses must happen as part of a restructuring process. The changes follow negotiations between the college and the local Learning & Skills Council over ongoing financial support. An Otley representative said: “The college is undergoing a period of positive restructuring. There is a possibility that up to 30 new posts will be created. We are confident this will lead to a positive new era under the guidance of our principal. There are ongoing talks between college authorities and the union.” The union official said: “We’ve been in the throes of restructuring since 2000,” adding that restructuring has already taken place at senior management level but that this has not saved any money. “We think there has been little change in the number of managers. This means they are going to have to save money from lecturers downwards. To save money, they will have to save on salaries. Further education is always in difficulty financially. Financial difficulties should be resolved by reductions in salaries all the way through.” He added that the college is proposing doubling the number of instructors with the “trade-off” being fewer higher-paid lecturers. A lecturer said staff morale was “not very good”. The college employs more than 400 staff and provides vocational courses for 6,000 students.

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