Adult Funding Cuts and Redundancies in Further Education

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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
18 February 2010
Carried as Amended

Conference is extremely concerned by the cuts in adult further education (FE) funding and the impact these cuts will have on our members and communities.

The Association of College (AoC) claims colleges in England alone will see cuts of between 10 – 25% in their adult learner responsive budgets for 2010//11. They estimate that unless these cuts are alleviated up to 7000 college jobs could be at risk.

These funding cuts will lead to redundancies and the closure of courses vital to our economy and local communities. Courses such as:

1)Bricklaying, joinery, plastering, plumbing, painting and tiling

2)Electrical installation

3)Catering and care – including safe handling of medicines for care workers

4)Certificate in British Sign Language

Conference believes that these cuts in funding pose a real risk to the economic recovery.

UNISON rightly applauded the Labour government’s decision to increase investment in FE during the recession, rejecting Tory calls to slash public spending. However, colleges now face severe cuts in adult funding at a time when so many adults want to re skill and retrain in a bid to find work.

Conference is also extremely concerned that some colleges seem to be rushing in to making course and job cuts before fully considering other options. We have already seen a number of colleges across the UK closing campus nurseries without even conducting a proper impact assessment.

Conference therefore believes we need to adopt a twin track approach. On the one hand working with employer organisations to campaign against funding cuts and on the other actively fighting any attempt by colleges to cut jobs locally.

Conference therefore calls upon the SGE to:

a)Actively work with the other recognised unions and the Campaigning Alliance for LifeLong Learning to campaign against adult funding cuts

b)Produce FE specific campaigning and organising materials on fighting funding and job cuts

c)Actively support branches fighting college job cuts locally

d)Call upon College Managements and FE employer organisations to reject the cuts and to refuse to make compulsory redundancies. Name and shame colleges refusing to sign up to nationally (England) agreed minimum standards on redundancy avoidance measures

e)Work with branches to launch organising campaigns in our colleges to build union density as the best means of defending jobs

f)Invite College Managements and FE employer organisations to support our campaign.