Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Friday, 28 August 2009 11:48 UK

Teachers striking over job cuts

Tower Hamlets College
The college serves some of the country's poorest communities

Teachers at an east London college have begun what they say is an indefinite strike over job cuts.

Students arriving to enrol at Tower Hamlets College decided not to after speaking to striking teachers, the University and College Union said.

The UCU said nearly seven full-time posts will be lost at the college, which serves some of the UK's most deprived communities.

But the college has said the action of the teachers is irresponsible.

'Academic vandalism'

Managers are facing cuts by the Learning and Skills Council, which is responsible for funding further education colleges.

But the UCU described the college plans as a "huge overreaction".

UCU branch secretary Roberto Foth said: "We are extremely grateful to these students for their courageous stand against this disgraceful act of academic vandalism.

"Tower Hamlets College has special relationships all over this community that can easily be swept away, but can never be replaced."

In a statement, the college said: "The Learning and Skills Council has reduced the college's overall learner responsive funding by almost £1m over the last three years.

We refuse to allow the irresponsible action of those few who choose to strike over the enrolment period to impact on our students' chances of accessing education
College statement

"Tower Hamlets College has covered the cost of unfunded courses from the college's budgets and reserves.

"To continue to do this would reduce funding for other areas, which would clearly not be in the interests of all the students that the college serves.

"Whilst regrettably some compulsory redundancies have had to be made, considerably fewer staff than anticipated have been affected - 6.7 full-time posts, which is 1.5% of the college's workforce.

"We refuse to allow the irresponsible action of those few who choose to strike over the enrolment period to impact on our students' chances of accessing education and to distract us from our long term aims.

"We will do all we can to support our students, enabling them to achieve the future they deserve."



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