UCU and UNISON campaign to halt closure
Blackburn College has announced job cuts and the closure of a 50 year old trade union health and safety education centre.
The College’s once proud record of widening participation and student-focused teaching and learning is being put at significant risk. A strategy of shrinkage pursued by successive principals and senior management teams has already resulted in a 25% drop in teaching staff numbers between 2016 – 2019.
The 11 job losses - the fifth round of redundancies in four years - will come from a pool of 29 staff in the review and will take effect from the start of the new academic year in September.
Whilst no UNISON members' jobs are at risk, we stand in solidarity with the UCU and will campaign with them against all job cuts, says UNISON.
UCU regional official Martyn Moss said:
“We find it incredible that the college is threatening staff with job losses.Blackburn College needs to recognise the commitments made by staff in dealing with the current crisis. Sacking staff at a time when there simply is not work available elsewhere is unnecessary and unfair.”
What's more, the closure of the Trade Union/Health and Safety Education Centre, based in the college’s original Victoria building is a blow for all trade unions across the North West, including ours.
The centre has provided shop stewards, health and safety representatives and trade union members with TUC courses over many years.
This decision is unforgivable given the current importance of health and safety training. Two major issues confront us; how to safely resume work and how to preserve viable terms and conditions in the aftermath of the economic shutdown.
In addressing both these issues, well-trained health and safety reps are vital. The trade union health and safety education centre has fulfilled a key role in meeting these training needs on behalf of local employers, unions and work forces for many years, but the knowledge and expertise of trained safety reps has never been as crucial as it is now.
Many of the representatives trained at the centre represent key front-line workers who are fulfilling essential roles in this time of pandemic.
Blackburn MP Kate Hollern said:
“I was shocked to learn of the plans to close the Trade Union Centre. It plays a vital role and health and safety is a more important issue than ever, particularly given that many will be asked to return to work over the coming months. We need people who are qualified and able to advise and if need be challenge employers.”
UNISON Blackburn with Darwen Local Government Branch secretary Denise Wilkins has led calls for the college to reconsider their damaging decision.
- Sign the UCU petition: Click the petition pic above
- Blackburn Trades Council asks supporters of Trade Union Education to write letters of protest to the College Principal, Dr Fazal Dad.
His address is:
Dr F Dad
- Share the petition and campaign info on social media. Tag @NorthWestUNISON
Source: UNISON / UCU
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