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Date: Thu 7 March 2013

Don't treat Scotland's colleges and support staff like Cinderella, UNISON tells MSPs

• PHOTO OPPORTUNITY EVENT - 1pm outside Parliament - Cinderella will make an appearance with the Ugly Sisters - MEDIA are invited to send cameras
• DELIVERY OF POSTCARD PETITION - SHORT CUTS, LONG TERM DAMAGE (Mike Russell has been invited to receive these)
• LOBBY OF MSPs by UNISON college staff
• EVENT IN SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT - Committee Room 1 at 2.45pm - hosted by Neil Findlay MSP

Scotland’s college support staff union UNISON will today (Thursday 7 March) demand that our colleges should be properly funded and call on the Scottish Government to stop treating Further Education as a Cinderella service.

A postcard petition representing the 1,300 jobs which have been lost in FE as a result of recent cuts will be delivered to Scottish ministers, pointing out that short terms cuts mean long term damage to our economy and some of our neediest communities and people.

UNISON activists will lobby MSPs in the Parliament and a meeting will be held in Committee Room 1 at 2.45PM hosted by Neil Findlay MSP.

Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON’s Further Education Committee, will say:

"Scotland can no longer sit by and let our colleges be turned into a Cinderella service by another year of savage cuts. We urgently need the Scottish government to explain to us how they are planning to protect jobs and services for our students in the wake of more rounds of job cuts.

"Services are being decimated even before the predicted job losses as a result of mergers and no-one at the Scottish Government is asking why.

"Our college staff and students deserve better. Support staff provide invaluable services which enable our students to prosper after they take their first steps into education. Without these essential services many college students will fail to progress and millions of pounds of public money will be wasted.

"College students need support services more than most as many are taking their first steps into education.

"College staff and students are no Cinderellas. We deserve to go to the education ball on a fair equal and properly funded basis."

• There will be opportunities for pictures of Cinderella and the postcard petition at 1pm outside the Scottish Parliament

• There will be opportunities to interview UNISON members from colleges across Scotland at 1pm outside the Scottish Parliament and also at the event in Committee Room 1 in the Scottish Parliament at 2.45pm


ends

For further information please contact:
Chris Greenshields, chair of UNISON’s Further Education Committee, on 07722 329 223
Emma Phillips, UNISON Regional Organiser, on 07538 101 221
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978
Fiona Montgomery, Communications Officer, 0141 342 2877 or 07508 877 000


Notes for editors:

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland and represents a range of staff delivering important services in further and higher education.

2. Already more than 1,300 jobs have been lost from Scotland's vital FE colleges in the 18 months or so before Education Secretary Mike Russell announced that he wanted a further £50 million of savings as a result of mergers.

3. In written and oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee on the Post-16 Education Bill on 5 February, UNISON argued that Russell's cuts "will have a catastrophic effect on the key services our members provide to our students. We cannot continue to cut while the sector deals with the biggest changes in over 20 years."
UNISON's full written evidence to the Committee can be found on our website here:
http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/
Post16Education_EvidencetoSPEducation+CultureCttee_Jan2013.pdf

 

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