Save the Vine, No to ‘Restructuring’ at Leeds City College

In November 2016, workers at the Vine, a specialist education service were TUPE’d, (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), into Leeds City College from Leeds City Council.

A Unison member at Leeds City College

The effects of the cuts imposed on services within the Council meant that Vine was operating on a ‘shoe-string’ budget cut to the bone, with little resources. The cost of the services was a problem for the Council as it felt attempted to make savings from it’s reduced budget. The service provision and the staff were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Staff were sold the idea that we would move to Beeston over three year period and there would be no detrimental change, and even better, that resources would improve. The reality is that the service did suffer further cuts in resources, we didn’t move to Beeston and the reality was that in transferring we only had a stay of execution.

The College, rather than take a real look at the true cost and running of the service during the time it was within the Council, quickly became aware of the cost and the poor state of the building after the transfer. Indeed morale has been low amongst staff as we have felt we have been dragged kicking and screaming as we have seen the service down size over the years, move into our present building and more recently see our space of the building cut in half with an ever contracting number of staff as we have moved further into the abyss.

The restructure at the College that the unions wholly oppose mean job losses and a transfer of whatever remains of a staff team at the Vine into the College’s terms and conditions which in means real terms pay cuts and inferior terms and conditions.

Instead of cuts by stealth, services need more investment in resources and staff to ensure that services have a future and that our learners can enjoy and make progress and are well supported in their time with us. Cuts in funding in Colleges forces the commercialisation of colleges and a move away from the idea of universal free quality education for all.

We must unite together to oppose these austerity measures and fight to improve our pay, terms and conditions as well as defend jobs and fight for more education resources.

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