Park college staff strike

STAFF at Park College were on strike this week in protest at plans by Sussex Downs College to stop employing staff on nationally agreed sixth form teachers' contracts.

Members of the NUT and NASUWT unions staged a picket and received encouragement from students and motorists.

Dave Brinson, East Sussex Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said, "Despite Sussex Downs trying to play absurd numbers games in last week's Herald, the fact is that the vast majority of teaching staff at the Park College site supported the action today.

"This is not a demand for any sort of pay rise or improvement in conditions- it is about defending the nationally recognised teachers' conditions that staff at Park have always enjoyed.

"We very much regret the disruption to students, but the plain fact is that Sussex Downs management have had six months to negotiate a settlement, and have offered nothing of substance in that time."

Staff were last on strike in the summer, after which action was suspended pending further talks.

Sussex Downs College told The Herald that the college governors were 'extremely disappointed' about the action. "There are 1,600 staff at Sussex Downs College, 300 at Park College, of whom only about 40 are potentially involved in this matter.

"The governors have fully explained to colleagues at Park College that staff who joined Sussex Downs on merger in 2003 have retained their original contracts, terms and conditions and they have been assured on numerous occasions that they are protected. However, the corporation is legally obliged to employ new teachers at Park College on the same contract and conditions as teachers elsewhere in the college."