Union members at Kirklees College are being balloted today for strike action over plans to cut jobs and change contracts.
Members of Unison and the University and College Union are in dispute with the college over changes to pay and terms and conditions as well as proposed job cuts.
The college, which has been hit by a funding crisis, says it is hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies and said “meaningful negotiations” were continuing with unions with the aim of reaching an agreement.
Around 200 Unison members are being balloted today while UCU members began ballots on Friday.
No-one was available to comment today from Unison.
A spokesman for UCU said a proposed restructure at Kirklees Council included plans to axe 52 jobs, including teaching and support staff.
The UCU spokesman added: “The college is also planning changes to contracts which the union says could lead to increased workloads and worse terms and conditions for staff.”
UCU has claimed the plans would hit students the hardest and is urging Kirklees College to re-think the job cuts.
UCU regional official Julie Kelley said: “Members feel they have been left with no option but to ballot for strike action in order to defend jobs and working conditions.”
A spokesman for Kirklees College said negotiations with the unions were continuing.
“We continue to welcome and respond to alternative proposals as we move forward to implement our plans. At this stage we are hopeful to avoid any compulsory redundancies.
“The college’s current proposals do not impact on the learning opportunities offered by Kirklees College.”
News of the college’s financial problems emerged in November when the Education and Skills Funding Agency assessed the college as having “inadequate financial health.”
An official Financial Notice to Improve was issued by the ESFA on November 7, requiring college leaders to come up with a financial recovery plan and meet with government officials on a monthly basis.
The college admitted that cuts to its funding alongside long-term debts had made its finances unsustainable.
The college has spent big in recent years, creating a £74m campus at Chapel Hill while also plunging several million into new facilities at two sites in Dewsbury.
Earlier this week Kirklees College announced it had received a Grade 2 (Good) rating from the education watchdog Ofsted whose inspectors visited last month.
But the report said the college’s financial circumstances “present a significant risk to sustaining the current high quality of provision.”
In a letter to college principal Marie Gilluley, Oftsed said: “The college is in the early stages of a very challenging process as you work with the Further Education Commissioner and the Education and Skills Funding Agency to find financial solutions to secure the long-term sustainability at the college.
“So far you have ensured that the financial circumstances of the college have not had a negative impact on the quality of education and or the range of programmes available.”