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Unions urge colleges to accept redundancies

Further education unions have this week held talks with two Scottish colleges in the hope of staving off compulsory redundancies.

Both Falkirk and Jewel and Esk Valley Colleges are facing cuts as the new funding formula, based on the number and type of students in preceding years, bites.

John Lisgo, principal of Jewel and Esk, said the college had to save the equivalent of 40 posts, almost 9 per cent of staff. Efforts would be made to achieve savings through voluntary means, including redeployment where possible. Falkirk College has persuaded 16 staff to take voluntary severance. Five other posts are threatened.

Some 35 of Scotland's 43 colleges have agreed revised pay and conditions contracts following the axing of national negotiations in January. Most staff at Jewel and Esk have accepted personal contracts, and Falkirk has extended a temporary recognition agreement with the unions to late May.

The Scottish Higher and Further Education Association and the Educational Institute of Scotland yesterday urged Falkirk to accept a voluntary severance package for staff under 50.

Jack Dale, EIS further and higher education secretary, said if not, members were poised to ballot on industrial action.

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