College staff confirm strike action plans

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TEACHERS in Eastbourne are planning to strike tomorrow (Thursday May 24) as part of a row over job losses.

Staff at Sussex Downs College who are members of the National Union of Teachers have confirmed they will walk out after it emerged more than a dozen of their colleagues are set to lose their jobs.

They will be joined by members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) and the majority of those striking work at Park College, meaning the industrial action is likely to cause high levels of disruption to classes.

Sussex Downs College has been criticised for cutting back on staffing numbers and while work done by the unions and management has resulted in no compulsory redundancies of NUT members, the forced reductions in working hours remain unacceptable to the union.

According to union bosses some staff have been told their hours are being cut back significantly which could make it difficult for them to continue to make ends meet.

Phil Clarke, secretary of Lewes and Eastbourne NUT explained, “The numbers now affected are very small but this is still unacceptable to our members, some being left with only a few hours’ employment a week.

“We hope the college will now be able to back away from further changes and use any small gap between the savings they planned and the savings they have made to help maintain quality education provision.

“We understand the disruption strikes cause and they are always a last resort for teachers. We remain positive that college management will act to avoid the action, but firmly believe that defending jobs in education in the long term is the correct thing to do for both our members and the whole community the college serves.”

Last year dozens of local teachers and support staff took part in a day of industrial action against government plans to change the pensions of public sector workers.

Hundreds of people met on Eastbourne seafront for a rally and to voice their frustrations.