A COLLEGE plans to cut 41 jobs with 155 posts at risk of redundancy, according to a union. 

A spokesman for the University and College Union (UCU) said: “Plans to axe another 41 posts at Blackburn College would be a disaster for staff and students. Our members will oppose any plans for compulsory redundancies and we urge the college to extend the consultation on its proposals.”

Union chiefs said college staff were still reeling from redundancies in summer, which they said saw experienced lecturers made redundant and the staff that remained struggling to deal with increased workloads. 

The college said proposals will result in the loss of some jobs – around three per cent of its full-time equivalent staffing levels.

But the union said its members would oppose any plans for compulsory redundancies. UCU regional official Martyn Moss said: “Only four months on from a badly-handled redundancy exercise that left Blackburn College under-resourced and struggling to function effectively, the college has announced plans that put another 155 staff at risk of redundancy in the run up to Christmas.

 “At a time when staff and students should be focused on teaching and learning, the college is again looking to squeeze its overworked teaching staff to cover up a lack of leadership from a changing management team.

 “Blackburn College needs to recognise that staff are already at breaking point. Further cuts would be a disaster for staff and students, and only serve to increase already unmanageable workloads.” UCU will oppose compulsory redundancies and calls on the college to urgently rethink these damaging plans.’

Graham Towse, interim principal and chief executive at the college said a consultation process, launched on Monday, will run until Thursday, January 10, to consult on a number of restructures in some key areas. 

He said: “Blackburn College, like all education and training providers, is under increasing financial pressure to operate in a more efficient manner with a focus upon delivering outcomes linked to income.

“We will do all we can to prevent any compulsory redundancies and as part of the consultation process will be introducing a voluntary severance scheme, available to staff affected. The college is committed to working collaboratively and constructively with trade union representatives and staff.”

“We are confident that with the right measures we will create a sustainable platform for the future to focus on improving our quality and standards whilst continuing to transform the lives and life chances for our students.”