Newcastle College Group job-loss email anger

The University and College Union has hit out after staff at Newcastle College Group found out their jobs were at risk by email

Newcastle College
Newcastle College

A union has hit out at a Tyneside college after staff found out their jobs were at risk by email.

Staff at NCG (formerly Newcastle College Group) were told last week they would know whether they faced redundancy if an email dropped by 6pm.

Last night, the University and College Union (UCU) branded the approach insensitive.

NCG revealed last week that 60 staff will lose their job as the college makes cuts in the wake of the Government’s austerity measures.

However, 63 new posts have been created. The job losses will be split between teaching and support staff.

UCU said its members are particularly angered by how the news was broken.

Staff were instructed to check their computers at the end of the working day for an email informing them they faced potential redundancy. Those who did not receive an email were not at risk.

The college also stands accused of failing to ask for voluntary redundancies and instead moving straight to compulsory redundancies.

UCU regional official Iain Owens said: “Telling staff by email that they are at risk of losing their jobs is typical of a management approach that treats dedicated, committed staff as disposable – here today, gone tomorrow.

“Our members have dubbed it Jackie Fisher’s ‘leaving present’.

“While all colleges are facing difficulties arising from Government cuts, Newcastle College is better placed than almost all of them to avoid compulsory redundancies, having made a surplus of �5.7m last year.

“The new chief executive will have to work very hard to improve staff relations as a matter of urgency.”

Carole Kitching, principal at Newcastle College, said face-to-face meetings are now being held to inform staff.

She said: “Dame Jackie Fisher [the outgoing chief executive of NCG] has led the team that has built Newcastle College into its position as one of the leading colleges in the UK, and she is leaving it in a far stronger, healthier financial position than when she arrived.

“We deeply regret the fact the Government has cut our funding so drastically, but we have done everything in our power to protect the quality of courses for learners and preserve jobs despite these reductions.

“That is why we are making fewer redundancies than many other colleges.

“We care about our staff, which is why we consulted with trades unions first and then briefed staff in face-to-face meetings.

“We will keep them informed at every stage as we understand this is a very stressful time for those affected and we will ensure they receive every support possible.

“Funding from the Government is tighter than ever, but we have come up with a solution that gives us stability for the future.

“We always use any surplus to improve quality for our learners. We have always reinvested in learning because that is the only way we can ensure a successful future for the college and staff.”

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