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British Council to strike

British Council staff across the UK  are to strike on 24 and 25 March in a protest against plans which would see over 200 people made redundant, according to the PCS Union. Council workers in centres around the world from Bogota to Baghdad will also join the action.

The Council, which is the UK’s biggest not-for-profit organisation, is responsible for running cultural relations worldwide. It  has been largely self-funded for many years, with the largest part of its income coming from its English language teaching and examinations business. Threatened with financial ruin when Covid forced it to close its teaching and testing centres in 2020, it was bailed out by an advance from the Government, who have demanded swingeing cuts. 

The Government’s recent decision to remove the contract for running the Turing scheme – which was designed to replace  Erasmus for UK students – from the British Council and hand it over to a for-profit outsourcing company, who put in a lower bid, has further increased the job losses, the Union believes.

A British Council spokesperson told the Gazette that they have “from the outset been fair, open and transparent with staff about our rationale for the savings needed, not only in order to survive but to also create a sustainable future for the organisation“.

“We have consulted fully, openly and meaningfully with PCS on our Transformation programme and will continue to engage with them to try and resolve any differences,” she added.


Image courtesy of Pixabay
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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