College defends bid to cut 213 jobs
Officials who confirmed Belfast Metropolitan College is to lose 213 staff have defended their decision.
Its governing body said the full-time and part-time posts had to go to ensure the future sustainability of the college, but trade unions have warned about the likely impact of the job cuts.
The college confirmed its governing body had agreed a cost-saving plan that would result in the likely loss of 120 full-time permanent posts and 93 part-time temporary positions.
The college management said it hoped a portion of the redundancies would be voluntary, while the savings blueprint would be helped by the introduction of other measures including career breaks.
Director and chief executive of the college, Marie-Therese McGivern, said: "We are disappointed at the recent breakdown in communications with the recognised trade unions but we remain committed to continuing positive dialogue with the staff affected during the restructuring process. To this end, we will continue to consult on a one-to-one basis with staff."
She said the college had yet to be presented with "any viable alternative on how we return to a solvent financial position".
She added: "It is regrettable that these reductions are necessary but they are essential to secure the college's future sustainability and development. We are keen to ensure that staff affected by this announcement have full access to our suite of support initiatives currently being planned through our employee assistance service."
The college said it currently employs 1,000 full-time and 800 part-time staff, and talks between management and trade unions broke down ahead of the announcement, sparking protests at the college.
The college said the job cuts will affect all parts of the organisation, including management.
Chair of the college's governing body, Richard O'Rawe, said it had considered arguments tabled by unions, and added: "We have been assured by college management and are confident that despite these proposed reductions, Belfast Metropolitan College will continue to provide an excellent and high quality range of education and training opportunities for its students - ultimately creating a sustainable college and opportunities for the citizens of Belfast and throughout Northern Ireland."