Sunderland College lecturers’ dispute settled

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UNION officials and college bosses have reached an agreement after a bitter dispute.

Members of the University and College Union, UCU, took to the picket lines last month over proposals by Sunderland College to slash wages by up to £10,000.

The row centred on college plans to cut the salaries of more than 150 lecturers, and to downgrade 70 per cent of its teaching workforce to lower pay grades.

While angry staff voted overwhelmingly to fight the plans, the college said it needed to make massive savings to address £2.2million of Government cuts.

However, after lengthy dicussions the college has announced that it has reached an agreement with the UCU and Unison.

The deal sees compulsory redundancies reduced from 36 to 13.5 posts, of which 2.5 are teaching staff.

Fewer than 100 of the college’s 700 staff will be affected by a pay reduction, the maximum of which will be £3,702, and all salaries will be protected for two years.

Current holidays of 49 days plus bank holidays and pensions will be unaffected.

Barry Campbell, Sunderland College branch chairman of UCU, said: “After a great deal of hard work from all parties we have achieved an outcome that will secure the future of Sunderland College and the excellent educational service provided to our students.”

College principal Angela O’Donoghue said: “The one thing we agreed on from the start was that we continue to focus on the quality of the educational offer and the quality of our student experience.

“By working together we have been able to come up with a final agreement that is sustainable and secures our long-term future.”