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UCU response to unsuccessful appeals in Bolton University sackings row

7 May 2015

UCU has reacted with amazement at the news that the University of Bolton has thrown out two appeals out against gross misconduct today. The union said it will be instructing its lawyers to take up the case.

The union said it was disappointed, but not surprised, that the university had chosen to sneak the news out at 5pm on election day.

Damien Markey and his wife Jenny were sacked following unfavourable stories in national newspapers about the vice-chancellor's spending habits and financial arrangements. The papers have since confirmed that the Markeys were not the source for their stories.

In its statement, the university refused to provide any further details about the case or why the appeals had been unsuccessful. However, it did complain that the case had attracted a lot of attention and comment and bizarrely claimed that was bringing the university into disrepute.

UCU regional official, Martyn Moss, said: 'The way Bolton University has treated the Markeys has been disgraceful from the very start. Sneaking the news of their unsuccessful appeals out at 5pm on election day is pretty low though.

'The university should be under no illusion here about the strength of feeling within the national union, of its own students, of the wider academic community and the people of Bolton. We will be instructing our lawyers to fight this.

'If you treat staff badly then you should expect a reaction. People are understandably disgusted by what the university has done - that is why thousands have signed a petition calling for the Markeys' reinstatement and many will be out in Bolton next Saturday (16 May) to protest.

'If the university truly believes that such a diverse group of people are the root cause of the negative publicity that has followed its decision to unfairly sack staff, then the problems at a senior level are even worse than we imagined.'

Award-winning actress Maxine Peake is backing the campaign. The star of Shameless and The Village said: 'I strongly support the campaign for the reinstatement of Damien and Jenny Markey at Bolton University. Attacks on trade unionists are part of a growing trend towards shutting down dissent in our public institutions and places of work.

'Behind this repressive trend is a relentless drive towards privatisation of our public services, the consolidation of ever more power in the hands of big business and finance, and the steady enrichment of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary working people. This process has to be stopped.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015