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Belfast Metropolitan College planning to shed 200 staff, say angry unions

Union leaders have accused Belfast Metropolitan College of being “deliberately misleading” amid fears that planned job losses could top 200.

The warning came after an emergency meeting yesterday, held in response to last Friday’s news that more than 100 jobs would be axed at the college.

But unions reject that figure and claim the job losses will be closer to 200 posts — around a fifth of the total workforce.

In a joint statement, officials from Nipsa, UCU and NASUWT said they had received further information from management at the college setting out plans to reduce the workforce by 200.

Moira Morton from Nipsa said the previous estimate was an attempt by management to manipulate the numbers.

“When we were told it was going to be in excess of 100, I think everyone assumed it would in or around the 100 figure.

“However, there was a document released yesterday and it appears to suggest there will be almost 200 job losses. It has come as a massive shock to staff.”

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Monica Goligher from UCU accused college management of showing “a clear contempt for staff” over how the proposed job losses have been handled.

“Unions intend to resist these attempts to decimate jobs and educational provision within the Belfast Metropolitan College,” she said.

Larry Fitzsimons from NASUWT warned students would be hit.

“Management proposals will negatively impact on students and will reduce services to the people of Belfast and beyond,” he said.

The college was unavailable for comment on the unions’ claims.

Officials are to meet with college management next Monday, while a meeting of union members has been arranged for tomorrow to discuss the situation.

Belfast Met — which has six campuses around the city — has claimed the redundancies are necessary because it has been running a deficit for four years.

A new campus in the Titanic Quarter is due to open next September, while a building being built in north west Belfast is scheduled to open in spring 2012. Finance has been secured for both projects.

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