COLLEGE staff and students have been joining strike protests and demonstrations today, Thursday, June 6, outside Chesterfield College and in the town centre over plans to cut 70 jobs.
The college, on Infirmary Road, Chesterfield, has announced a £4m shortfall and is aiming to reduce its workforce by 10percent to balance its books.
Its move to introduce cost-saving redundancies has provoked anger and sparked a strike among University and College Union members after the college suffered 80 job losses last year and has recently undergone a multi-million pound redevelopment.
Sixth-form college lecturer and UCU representative James Eaden said: “We’re campaigning to defend jobs. They are a vital resource for our community and we’re asking people to sign our petition, support the college staff and say no to jobs cuts.
“It’s vital young people get the education and training they deserve and job cuts affecting lecturers are not the solution to the crisis in education.”
Protestors picketed the college during the morning, held a sit down protest to temporarily stop student buses outside the college and held a town centre demonstration where they collected signatures for a growing petition in an effort to persuade the college not to introduce job cuts.
A level college student Helena MacDonald, 18, of Brimington, Chesterfield, said: “We’ve a special bond with our lecturers and we regard them as our friends and its really sad to think that they are being discarded in this way.”
Miss MacDonald and child care student Rebecca Pearson, of Bolsover, also argued that any job cuts would damage students’ education and future prospects.
Mr Eaden added: “If the college withdraws its threat of bringing in compulsory redundancies we can then discuss with them what can be done to help the college.”
College principal Trevor Clay has said the college has had no choice but to consider job cuts with college bosses blaming a fall in the number of potential students, an increase in apprenticeships and cuts in Government funding. Mr Clay also argued that staffing accounts for two thirds of the college’s costs.