UCU Fights Mass Sackings

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The University and College Union (UCU) has slammed Manchester College after it was revealed that it is paying its top earner almost £200,000, while planning mass sackings.

Figures seen by UCU show that the top earner in 2008 was earning between £170,000 and £180,000. A year later the top earner was on £193,970.

The news came as Manchester College looks to make 300 redundancies, just months after the college froze the pay of over 3,000 prison education staff.

Manchester College is the country’s biggest prison education provider, running courses in 80 prisons across the UK.

UCU said that the news is the latest in a long line of shoddy decisions by Manchester College management.

In January, UCU accused Manchester College of throwing the prison education sector into havoc when the college announced plans for 250 job losses from its offender learning teams and a further 50 redundancies in other departments.

At the end of last year the college singled out its prison education staff for a pay freeze.

In July 2009, Manchester College teaching staff at the Oakhill Secure Training centre near Milton Keynes walked out over allegations of bullying and harassment.

The following month UCU members walked out at the college’s main Manchester campus in protest at the sacking of 15 staff members.

UCU was furious that the college targeted union activists in a round of redundancies describing them as punishing and unnecessary.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said at the weekend: ‘The planned cuts will be a hammer blow to learning throughout the country.

‘The result of Manchester College’s actions will be fewer rehabilitation opportunities for offenders and another 300 staff on the dole queue.’

• This Wednesday, the day before the general election, London will be hit by strikes at universities and colleges.

Members of the UCU are taking action over massive funding cuts that are threatening jobs across the capital.

Eleven further education colleges have returned ballots that all backed strike action and UCU members at the University of Westminster and University College London (UCL) voted in favour of industrial action.

Members of UCU at King’s College took strike action last month and are seeking to take action on Wednesday along with their colleagues in the further education colleges.

Higher education has been hit with a series of funding cuts that now total close to £1bn, while further education has been told to make savings of £340m in the next academic year.

The 11 colleges are: Barnet College; City and Islington College; College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London; College of North West London; Greenwich Community College; Hackney Community College; Lambeth College; Lewisham College; Richmond Upon Thames College; Tower Hamlets College and Westminster Kingsway College.