Sheffield College staff campaign to stop cuts and redundancies

Staff at The Sheffield College are campaigning against cuts which will lead to redundancies and reduced work hours.

Changes to the college’s Learning Resource Service (LRS) will see staff in that department reduced, and fewer working hours and income for remaining LRS staff.

Jordan Stapleton, UNISON area organiser for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “They think they can improve the service with fewer staff, which I think’s fantasy.

“It’ll be devastating for the staff who lose their jobs, it’s their income, but for the ones who are left, some of them are going to be losing money still anyway because they’re reducing the number of weeks they have to work.”

Many of them have got families and children, and they’re going to be struggling to support them.

Jordan Stapleton, UNISON area manager

UNISON have registered a dispute and asked for the proposals to be put on hold, but Sheffield College have refused. Of the 20 members who will be affected by the cuts, 19 voted in favour of strike action in an indicative ballot.

Paul Simpson, Executive Director of Human Resources and Organisation Development at the college, said: “The College’s revised structure will have 19 posts that reflect the needs of a modernised library service. This amounts to a 14% reduction in staffing of three posts.

“We understand that this is a difficult time for those affected and through continuing conversations with volunteers for redundancy and applications for promotion opportunities the College will do everything it can to avoid any compulsory redundancies.”

Mr Stapleton said in the petition: “UNISON members are opposed to these changes which will damage the education of existing and future students, and will make hard-working and dedicated staff redundant.”

The Sheffield College said the changes are being made to modernise the service and improve students’ experience.

Mr Simpson said: “We will enhance the offer of our four learning resource centres at City, Hillsborough, Olive Grove and Peaks campuses by using technology to provide students with more online resources and to reduce administrative tasks for staff.

“This will enable the delivery of increased one-to-one and group study skills support sessions whilst also running a cost-efficient service.”

The Learning Resource Service is based around a library at the college, and gives students access to resources and one-to-one support from skilled staff.

Mr Stapleton said: “They get a lot of students in there with special educational needs and disabilities who get the extra support that they need to thrive.

“So I think this is going to be a big hit to them, I don’t think they’re going to get the same quality of service. I mean, how could they if there’s going to be fewer staff?”

The Sheffield College are currently consulting with staff, while UNISON move towards a ballot for formal strike action.