South Essex College cuts 76 posts amid budget cuts

south east essex college southend South Essex college is cutting 76 posts and freezing pay

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An Essex college is to cut 76 posts after more than £8m was cut from its budget over three years.

South Essex College, based in Basildon, Southend and Thurrock, is to cap teachers' salaries and freeze pay.

College principal and chief executive, Angela O'Donoghue, said: "These are difficult times, but our focus and our top priority is our students."

The University and College Union said the college was "financially sound" and questioned the need for the cuts.

Regional officer Una O'Brien said: "The college is using government austerity measures to rip up agreements it made with the union regarding how to handle pay issues."

The college, which has a total budget of £43.2m, has around 1,200 full and part-time members of staff.

Its new strategy includes a voluntary redundancy programme.

'Extremely testing time'

In the past two academic years the college has had its budget reduced by £4.9m and faces a further cut of £3.7m in 2013-14.

Ms O'Donoghue said: "Public sector cuts are now starting to impact significantly on colleges and the next few years will prove to be an extremely testing time for the college and our staff.

"We will need to make significant savings next year and possibly the year after, in order to maintain our outstanding financial health."

Plans for a new £32m college campus for up to 2,000 students approved in January will still go ahead.

The building of the new campus in Thurrock - due to open in September 2014 - and plans for Basildon have been funded separately.

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