DOZENS of teachers are to lose their jobs at Kirklees College.
The Huddersfield college is axing 30 staff from its English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) department.
One teacher caught up in the redundancy process has told the Examiner that staff feel they are the victims of “dictatorial management”.
The lecturer, who asked not to be named, said: “Senior staff have been sidelined. Teachers have been in tears because of the dictatorial management.
“Three teachers who have never been off before are now on long-term sickness. It’s unacceptable, disgraceful behaviour.”
The college is in the middle of a radical reduction in its English courses.
On May 11, the 63 lecturers were told that, from September, there would be only 21 full-time staff, with another nine employed in term-time only.
A further four to six lecturers would be employed part-time.
The lecturer said the job cuts were hitting morale.
“People are frightened of losing their jobs. We’re all very stressed because the situation is very fast-moving. They haven’t given us any time.”
The college will stop running English classes at Slaithwaite, Huddersfield New College, the Irish Centre, St Patrick’s Catholic Centre, Rawthorpe and the Islamia School in Thornton Lodge.
Most of the people who attend the classes are refugees, asylum seekers or Pakistani-born women. Altogether, some 3,600 hours of teaching will be lost next year.
The lecturer said: “These are the most vulnerable people we’re teaching – some of my students have been detained. There are people on the waiting list and yet we’re cutting courses.”
But Kirklees College principal Chris Sadler said the cuts were necessary because of the public spending squeeze.
The college needs to reduce its budget by £800,000 for the academic year 2010-11, which starts in September.
Mr Sadler said: “Nationally, organisations are being asked to be more efficient due to the current financial climate we are living in.
“As a result of government cuts in adult funding, decisions have been taken to reduce the costs of delivery across Kirklees by rationalising the number of off-site delivery venues.
“However, we have made sure the breadth of provision has been maintained and access to the wider community is still a priority.”
Mr Sadler denied that there was a dictatorial management of the ESOL department.
He said: “As an Investors In People organisation, we welcome and encourage direct approaches from any members of staff who have concerns about management style. To date no-one has raised any formal concerns.”
Mr Sadler added that the redundancy process had been handled sensitively.
He said: “We worked with staff, the local authority and trade unions before finalising our proposals and have taken on board a number of their concerns.
“As with any restructure and period of change, some staff need more support than others to take on board new ways of working.”
And Mr Sadler pointed out that many of the 63 English lecturers involved in the restructuring taught for a few hours each week.
He said: “In ESOL’s area of the college we need to reduce 4.5 full-time equivalent posts, as many staff are part-time. We have had requests for voluntary redundancy from a number of staff and believe the situation will be resolved without recourse to compulsory redundancy.”