“Another nail in the coffin for trade unionism in Norfolk” - study centre at City College Norwich closes

City College Norwich 2014 logo - ignore all other versions

City College Norwich 2014 logo - ignore all other versions - Credit: Archant

The closure of a trade unions study centre will be 'another nail in the coffin for trade unionism in Norfolk', a shop steward has claimed.

City College Norwich stopped funding the centre on December 31, blaming cuts in its adult learning funding for this year and next.

Ben Baldwin, a shop steward at Dereham Tesco for the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) said: 'They are fantastic courses. You learn to be more assertive with your employers, to make sure you know you company's policies, which unfortunately a lot of managers don't, how to represent your members and how to deal with all levels of management and the public.'

He said many courses were now likely to move to Colchester, and added: 'It's going to be more difficult for trade union reps to get their training. That affects quality of representation at disciplinaries, and knowing their rights on things like pensions.'

He added that the centre had also offered education to union members in their workplace, on things such as basic computing skills and sign language.


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A spokesperson for City College Norwich said: 'Following a 14pc cut in our overall funding for adult learning for 2014-15, and with a similar-sized reduction anticipated for 2015-16, City College Norwich has had to make some difficult decisions about our adult learning provision.

'We went through a detailed process last summer of looking at our adult learning offer alongside our strategic priorities, whilst taking into account what other colleges in the New Anglia LEP are offering, and having due regard to protected areas such as apprenticeships and GCSE English and maths. Following this process it was concluded that we would no longer be in a position to fund the Trade Union Studies Centre beyond December 31, 2014.'

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He said the centre has one full-time member of staff, and two supply members, and they and the centre were told about the decision to stop its funding in July, to minimise the impact on union learning reps and their employers.

What do you think? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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