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Supporting Defend Glasgow Services/Tour of Cuts and Cutters

January 19, 2011

Stow College, just one of the many across the city threatened by the SNP government's cuts

(Facebook event here.)

The next big day of protest around education cuts in Glasgow is planned for January 29th.

Defend Glasgow Services, an anti-cuts campaign formed by Glasgow City Unison and other trade unions, has called a static protest for George Square at 11.30am.

The demo comes in the context of unprecedented cuts to further education being implemented by the Scottish Government. Just before Christmas, in a deliberate effort to bury the news, the Scottish Funding Council published the annual college grant letters for 2011/12. The news is devastating – college budgets are going to be slashed by 10% in a year, with colleges themselves left to decide who will get the sack, what courses will no longer run and what services will go.

This move will mean huge job losses, and a massive impact on students. At a time of record unemployment, especially among young people and school leavers, demand for further education is understandably very high. But in the coming months prospective students can expect to learn that their courses are no longer running.

This comes after it also emerged that students at two thirds of Scottish colleges are struggling to continue because of the lack of vital support funds. Over the last year 65% of colleges simply did not have enough money to provide the bursaries required to allow students to continue in education. The most vulnerable and least well off students depend on these funds for survival, but some colleges have simply stopped paying them out.

The right response to the economic crisis would be to expand further education, keeping lecturers and support staff in work and giving students the opportunity to gain skills. But in fact these plans put the future of many Scottish colleges in doubt. Already last year we saw Dumfries and Galloway College told it would have to face cuts of up to £1 million, for example.

Of course, there’s little chance that college boards will make cuts where they could really be afforded – massive salaries for management, junkets for bosses and hospitality costs. With some college principals earning six figure salaries, there can be absolutely no justification for making workers unemployed and depriving students of an education.

As Glasgow Unison say:

“We are calling for workers and students to stand together in our fight against the Scottish Education Cuts and to defend Glasgow’s Colleges. Unity is strength and together we will defeat these proposals.”

Glasgow Against Education Cuts as a group aims to unite staff and students from all Glasgow’s universities, colleges and schools. Up until now most of our action has been around solidarity with English students facing massive tuition fee increases. But now it’s time to for us all to stand by further education students and staff. This is something that is set to directly affect Scottish students right now. We can’t allow the SNP government to get away with such draconian cuts without any protest.

Following on from the rally, Glasgow Against Education Cuts plans  to take to the streets again. We’re going to go on a ‘Tour of Cuts and Cutters.’ We want to walk a route through the city that will allow us to see some of the vital services that will be lost as a result of the cuts, and then some of the people responsible. That includes both the SNP-run Scottish Government, and the tax dodging corporations that have property all over the city centre (Vodafone, Topshop, Boots etc.) While HM Revenue and Customs allows these multinational thieves to take money out of our pockets, Scottish students are set to be denied an education.

Below is a map of some of the places we could take in along the way. Go here to add your own suggestions.


Also on January 29th there will be a big demo in Manchester, called by the TUC demanding jobs for workers and an end to the cuts. There will be activists and buses going down from Glasgow, we’ll add details as we get them.


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