Union members at sixth form college take strike action over proposed merger
- Credit: Archant
More than 20 members of staff at Lowestoft Sixth Form College (L6FC) took to the picket line as the first of six planned days of strike action was held.
Teachers at L6FC took strike action this morning over potential restructuring and merger plans.
It comes in response to the proposed L6FC merger with East Coast College, with 24 members of the NASUWT teaching union at the sixth form college waving flags and protesting outside the college in Rotterdam Road.
With particular concerns raised over the restructuring plans, which they say will negatively impact on teachers' pay and working conditions, five further days of strike action are planned on July 2, July 3, July 10, July 11 and July 12.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: 'These restructuring plans could potentially leave teachers on significantly worse pay and working conditions.
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'NASUWT members are not only concerned about their future careers, but also the impact that worsening terms and conditions will have on the future recruitment of teachers at the College, which in turn threatens the quality of learning and support for students.
'Due to the hard work and commitment of staff, L6FC is the top performing sixth form college in Suffolk and Norfolk with a progress score rated as 'well above average' by the DfE, placing the College in the top five per cent of schools and colleges in England.'
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A L6FC spokesman said a final decision 'has not yet been made' as to whether the merger will go ahead. The decision is subject to the L6FC board considering the results of a public consultation on the proposed merger which ran from March 31 to May 4, and which is due to be published next month.
Ahead of the strike, David Bye, chairman of L6FC Corporation, said: 'The L6FC Corporation is continuing to work closely with all staff and union representatives to reassure colleagues that the proposed merger will not negatively impact on the education and career opportunities of current and future students.'
Normal timetabled lessons at L6FC were cancelled today and a series of non-compulsory drop in sessions were organised for students instead.
Students and parents were informed of the strike and the changes to the college timetable.