Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Troubled city college merger faces further challenge

One of the Colleges making up the new proposed 'super college' in Glasgow is being referred to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over their closure of a staff and student nursery, the education union, UNISON said today.

A complaint is being made to the EHRC by the union, and they have asked for an enforcement order to be served against the college to ensure the nursery remains open.

The College of Nautical Studies has been in a wrangle with its staff unions over the closure of the Thistle Nursery with the loss of 23 full time jobs, since July 2009.

Despite a successful industrial action ballot, a campaign to save the nursery, and a commitment to examine the union's case, the college subsequently reconfirmed its decision to shut the nursery from July this year.

Assistant UNISON branch secretary Scott Donohoe said: "Despite admitting the closure of the nursery would impact unfairly on female staff, the Equalities Impact Assessment provided by the college is totally inadequate, and was only done after the decision hade been taken, when UNISON asked to see it. The college seems to be simply ticking boxes, and even then only after they are pushed by UNISON."

UNISON maintains that the closure of the nursery is connected with the merger, where, despite the large amount of public money invested, no nursery provision is planned. News of the complaint comes just a day after teaching unions warned the new City of Glasgow College about concerns regarding compulsory redundancies and terms and conditions. UNISON argues that the new college should have a nursery on campus.

Scott Donohoe said "Many parents, students and staff use the nursery. Closing the facility will threaten the chances of many women to take life changing opportunities. In particular, forcing low paid women out to the expensive private sector could mean having to choose between study and the dole."


Notes for Editors: The Equality Act 2006 amended the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and introduced an Equality Duty on public authorities when carrying out their functions to ensure services, practices and policies are developed with the different needs of men and women in mind.