Grimsby Institute teaching staff walk out over job cuts

Image caption The union said 96% of its members at the institute had voted in favour of strike action

Members of a teaching union at a North East Lincolnshire college are taking strike action over job cuts.

The University and College Union (UCU) claims the Grimsby Institute is to cut one in five teaching posts and change staff contracts.

The institute said the redundancies, more than 35 posts, were necessary because it needed to save £4m.

The union said the cuts would mean larger class sizes and increased workloads for teaching staff.

Julie Kelley, UCU regional official, said 96% of members working at the institute had voted in favour of strike action.

'Tearing up' contracts

She added: "Strike action is always a last resort but UCU members at Grimsby Institute have had enough of the way the college has treated them."

Eamonn Griffin, programme leader for the English degree course at Grimsby Institute, said: "We're protesting against the way that the management at Grimsby Institute has torn up a contractual agreement that we have with our employer and off the back of that tearing up, they're trying to cut lecturers' jobs and de-skill our workforce.

"We appreciate these are tricky economic times but savings have got to be made in an appropriate way."

Mr Griffin added that current working conditions were "not particularly exciting for us, but we have to make the best of what we can so we can do the best for our students".

'Increase working hours'

A spokesman for the institute said it was working to keep job losses at a minimum whilst trying to ensure the town had a sustainable higher education college.

In a statement, the institute said: "It is essential we improve staff utilisation and increase efficiency to ensure a curriculum and staffing structure that is fit for purpose from 2013/14 onward.

"We have asked our staff to increase their teaching hours for one hour each week to 24 hours.

"We recognise that these are big changes but we do believe they are necessary because of the educational and financial environment in which we are all working."

The Grimsby Institute offers higher and further education courses at campuses in North East Lincolnshire and at Scarborough in North Yorkshire to more than 20,000 students.

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