Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Student loans firm cuts 195 jobs in Glasgow

Student Loans headquarters in Bothwell Street, Glasgow
The SLC said it would seek to offer redeployment opportunities

The Student Loans Company is to cut 150 jobs from two offices in Glasgow and transfer a further 45 posts to Darlington, it has announced.

The company said the job losses would be from its workforce based in the city centre and at Hillington.

It anticipates that the majority will go through voluntary redundancy.

The Public and Commercial Service union (PCS) promised to fight the job losses, which it said were "a result of cuts in UK government funding".

The Students Loans Company (SLC) said the changes would not affect staff involved in application processing and dealing with customer queries.

Chief executive Ralph Seymour Jackson said: "We are sorry that we have to make 150 posts redundant.

This announcement is a body blow to the hard working staff in the Student Loans Company and to the city of Glasgow that can ill afford to lose well-paid, highly-skilled jobs
Colin Young
PCS union

"I want to reassure our customers that these changes will not affect frontline staff and we will continue to make the improvements needed to deliver a better quality of service to them in the future.

"We are now entering a period of consultation, working closely with staff and the trade union body PCS, but we anticipate that the majority of the redundancies will be through voluntary means."

The PCS said it would hold meetings of members and urge them to back a campaign to defend the threatened jobs.

The union also called on MPs, MSPs and Glasgow city councillors to back its campaign.

Branch secretary Colin Young said: "This announcement is a body blow to the hard working staff in the Student Loans Company and to the city of Glasgow that can ill afford to lose well-paid, highly-skilled jobs.

"It is an extra kick in the teeth when you realise that 45 of these jobs are being transferred from Glasgow to England at no savings to the taxpayer."

The union said "threatening staff with the dole" was no way to reward workers who helped steer the SLC through difficulties last year. Two directors resigned following a damning report on payment delays.

John Mason, the SNP MP for Glasgow East, said the job losses were a blow at a crucial time for the Scottish economy.

I urge the company to enter into proper negotiations with the workforce and trade union
Mohammad Sarwar
Labour MP for Glasgow Central

He said: "These jobs are going because the UK government altered the agreement between the Student Loans Company and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. UK government ministers should hang their heads in shame.

"Any redundancies are a blow but this announcement comes at a crucial time as the Scottish economy is beginning to turn a corner."

Mohammad Sarwar, Labour MP for Glasgow Central, where the Student Loans Company's UK headquarters is based, said: "I urge the company to enter into proper negotiations with the workforce and trade union.

"I am very hopeful there will be no compulsory redundancies and believe this can be avoided."

A spokeswoman for the government's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said the loans company had had temporary funding for a large organisational change programme.

Now that had ended, on schedule, it needed to reduce its development capacity - affecting 150 of the staff.

"The SLC is now receiving £20m a year more to operate its new, expanded services," she said.

"Nevertheless, in common with the rest of the public sector, the SLC is also improving the efficiency of the service it provides, mainly in its back-office work which does not affect processing applications or answering the telephone."

The Student Loans Company currently employs 1,894 people in the two Glasgow offices and at sites in Darlington and Colwyn Bay, Wales.



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