College staff furious over pay threat

STAFF at Suffolk New College have reacted angrily after being told they won't be paid if bad weather prevents them from making it into work.

STAFF at Suffolk New College have reacted angrily after being told they won't be paid if bad weather prevents them from making it into work.

Bosses informed college employees last week that any absence attributable to poor weather would be recorded as unpaid leave - an announcement that has enraged those who were unable travel.

In an e-mail, sent to staff members during a week which saw the heaviest snowfall in the country for 18 years, college Principal Dave Muller said the school would remain open and urged employees to make personal decisions about whether it was safe to journey to work.

One member of staff, who did not wish to be named, felt the decision illustrated the “general contempt in which most employees feel that they are held.”


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“A message was sent out to all staff informing them that, should schools close and force members of staff that are parents to stay home and care for children in an emergency, the college will stop their pay for the day or however long they are off work,” said the employee.

Suffolk New College described the controversial announcement as a reminder to staff of the procedure for college employees and work attendance during periods of poor weather.

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A spokesperson for the college said: “It's a shame someone feels this way because we feel we have a very good relationship with our employees and our human resource policies are very supportive of our staff.

“We have a responsibility to our students to remain open for teaching and support.”

Keith Anderson, Suffolk county secretary for teacher's union NASUWT, said that with staff tending to live further away from work than they did in the past, they may face difficulty travelling in the event of adverse weather. “It puts a huge amount of undue pressure on them to make them choose between their safety and their pay,” he added.

Should the college pay staff who are absent during cold weather? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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