COLLEGE staff at the centre of merger plans could go on strike.
Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at South Downs College are being balloted for strike action in a row over new contracts that the union says would lead to worse pay and conditions for staff.
According to a statement from UCU, the Waterlooville college has threatened to dismiss staff who refuse to sign up to new contracts, which could see cuts to staff pay, as well as reductions to annual leave and redundancy notice periods.
UCU has criticised the plans, saying they would lead to a pay cut of around three per cent for many lecturers.
It comes amid a planned merger between South Downs College and Havant Sixth Form College.
The merger is due to take place on August 1 next year and supporters, including governors, say it will mean more educational opportunities.
Moray McAuley, UCU regional official, said: ‘These are deeply damaging proposals, and staff are understandably angry at plans to dismiss staff who refuse to sign away a significant chunk of their salary and annual leave entitlement.
‘Imposing these new contracts would be bad for staff and students alike.
‘South Downs is an outstanding college but these changes will make it harder to attract the best teachers and lecturers. The college urgently needs to rethink its plans and work with UCU to address members’ concerns.’
A statement from South Downs said: ‘It is disappointing that the union has chosen to ballot for industrial action whilst consultation is taking place. We will be working with unions and staff to find a solution and to maintain our high standard of education for our students.’
Officials at Havant College said they were not affected by the proposed strike action.