EIGHT WEEKS ago management at City & Islington College announced the immediate closure of the engineering department. They said it was a “failing” department. They gave no guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies.
The real motivation for shutting the department was the college inspection planned for the coming academic year.
Some 800 signatures against the closure were collected in three days and 80 people lobbied the college’s employment committee. Management agreed to postpone the closure and to go into consultation with the union on alternatives.
However, the “consultation” process turned out to be a tactic to demobilise the campaign, and the “consultations” ended in shutting the engineering department and creating a new IT department, which has nothing to do with engineering.
Management still refused to guarantee that there would be no compulsory redundancies. The branch responded by declaring an official dispute and voted to take industrial action, including disruption to the forthcoming inspection, against compulsory redundancies.
Just before the end of term management came up with a voluntary and redeployment package, which meant that no staff would be made compulsorily redundant.