Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 08:55 UK

Northumberland College job cuts strike

Northumberland College pickets
Pickets were on duty outside the college in Ashington

Teaching staff at Northumberland College are taking part in a strike action in a row over budget cuts and job losses.

Pickets were on duty at the college's main site in Ashington amid claims by the University and College Union (UCU) that more than 60 posts face the axe.

The college said it had "no option" but to identify areas where it could reduce costs following budget cuts.

A formal consultation process is under way aimed at reducing costs by £1m.

More than 90% of union members voted in favour of strikes in an earlier ballot.

Extra hours

The UCU also claimed there would be a big increase in working hours at the college in the wake of budget cuts.

Iain Owens, UCU regional official, said: "It is quite outrageous that staff are being targeted in such a punitive way while cash continues to be splashed on a burgeoning senior management team.

"The new plans would leave local students at a huge disadvantage as their teachers try to fit all the extra teaching hours in."

Rachel Ellis-Jones, principal and chief executive of Northumberland College said: "We have no option but to identify areas where we can reduce costs following substantial budget cuts and strikes won't change that."

The college is the only general further education college in the county and has sites at Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick, Alnwick, Blyth and Prudhoe.

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Newcastle Evening Chronicle Today's Chronicle: Lecturers strike at Northumberland College - 1 hr ago
Northeast Journal Northumberland College lecturers strike in protest at cuts - 4 hrs ago

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