Unions oppose plans for merger between Bury College and University of Bolton

Bury College is well-placed to continue as an independent institution. 


Trade unions at Bury College have rejected plans for the college to merge with the University of Bolton. Members of the University and College Union (UCU) and UNISON have hit out at a “flawed” consultation process and said the merger would not benefit staff or students.


In its formal response to the college’s public consultation over the proposed merger with the University of Bolton, the unions also warn any tie-up with the University of Bolton would pose a serious threat to future of further education provision in Bury. 


Unions say that staff, students and the public should have been consulted on a number of options available to the college – not just the merger plans. The unions argue that other colleges in the Greater Manchester area, including Salford City and Hopwood Hall, are likely to continue as independent institutions and that Bury College is well-placed to do the same.


Bury College has a good reputation and can claim to be one of the best further education colleges in the country with an outstanding Ofsted rating. There have been concerns raised nationally about the treatment of staff at the University of Bolton, which sits near the bottom of university ranking tables.


Jenny Martin, regional organiser for UNISON said: “We believe that staff, students and the public should have been consulted about the various options available to the college. We are worried that any governance arrangements in the new organisation would leave the interests of Bury and further education under-represented. This looks less like a merger and more like a takeover.”


Martyn Moss, UCU regional official said: “Bury College rightly has a proud reputation for excellence and we do not believe serious questions about the future of education in Bury were answered in the flawed consultation process.


“It is not clear what the plans would mean for the curriculum, for staff jobs, or if students will have to travel outside Bury. The University of Bolton already has links to multiple colleges, both in and outside the UK, so Bury College is not being offered anything special from the institution.”

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