UNISON fighting against compulsory redundancy at Lambeth College
Lambeth College’s financial situation is a disaster and the administrative staff are being made to pay the price. It comes after the realisation in July 2016 that the previous management team badly mishandled the college’s finances. Ofsted’s report slammed the college; “In the last academic year, governors were slow to recognise key indicators of financial mismanagement at the college.” That finance officer left to work elsewhere, and former Principal and CEO, Mark Silverman, was awarded a pay-off of 6 months’ salary when he subsequently left Lambeth College in August 2016.
The staff that remain are now dealing with huge cuts in funding to deal with the financial shortfall.
Lambeth College management have initiated a restructure consultation involving almost every school and department, in which 93 members of staff, including many UNISON members, are affected. This comes on top of widespread devastation of the FE sector across the country from the Tory government as cuts have eaten into staffing levels in every college.
Jim Delaney, a UNISON convenor at Lambeth College is helping to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies. “This restructure proposal is especially upsetting, since we believe that we are being asked to pay the price for the financial mismanagement of the College by our former senior management. It adds insult to injury to learn that the College has awarded the former Principal, Mark Silverman, a big pay-off and then comes after our jobs.”
Delaney added “Support staff at Lambeth College have faced year-on-year job cuts and reduction in staffing due to ‘natural wastage’. Our members work extremely hard to provide the best service possible for the local community, but workload and stress have reached intolerable levels. If we want the College to provide a good educational service to the people of Lambeth, we cannot afford to lose any more support staff.
Enough is enough! Our members have voted to ballot for strike action in the event that management fails to provide a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies. We hope that the College will negotiate with UNISON and do all that they can to ensure that no-one is made compulsorily redundant. If they do not, we are prepared to take strike action in defence of our jobs.”
Lambeth UNISON members have undertaken an indicative ballot for strike action in the event that the College fails to provide a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies. They will also hold lunchtime protests outside the Clapham Centre every week starting from Monday 6 March, highlighting the issues of the devastation of FE, redundancies, workload, removal of provision for the community via funding cuts/area reviews.