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Further action planned at Halesowen College in sacking row

7 January 2013 | last updated: 6 January 2016

Members of UCU at Halesowen College will meet tomorrow to decide on the next steps in their dispute with the college. Over 100 UCU members from across the region staged a lobby outside the college this morning in protest over the sacking of the union's branch secretary, David Muritu.

Mr Muritu was dismissed from his job as maths lecturer at the college on 20 December. The union says the college failed to follow its own disciplinary procedure or guidelines provided by the employment relations service Acas. The evidence provided by the college did not support an accusation of misconduct.

The college claims that the dismissal was made on the basis of Mr Muritu's results (which are above the national average). He has been rated as a grade 2 (good) lecturer by the college's own observation system. Three more maths lecturers, all of them active UCU members, face disciplinary procedures today and the imminent possibility of dismissal.

The union says it is no coincidence that the action was taken against active members and officers of the UCU branch at Halesowen College and has described Mr Muritu's dismissal and the disciplinary procedures against his colleagues as an attack on trade unionism.

Tomorrow's union meeting will consider the possibility of a ballot for strike action as members discuss a 'charge sheet' of the college's failings, which include:

  • refusal to pay for specialist cover (in spite of a huge surplus) for long-term sickness
  • lecturers expected to teach two different classes in two different rooms at the same time
  • groups being pushed together even though they are supposed to be studying different material
  • non-specialist staff regularly covering maths sessions
  • failure to provide teaching for students in the run-up to exams.

Nick Varney UCU regional official said: 'I have never known such an abuse of disciplinary procedures. It is difficult not to link this to his union activity where he has legitimately challenged the principal over the years.

'The whole process was like a kangaroo court. This looks like nothing more than the college seeking culprits from the teaching staff for its own failings. Staff are rightly angry at what is happening at Halesowen and will meet tomorrow to discuss the next steps, including the possibility of strike action.'

More details on the dispute can be found here.

An online petition at http://tinyurl.com/Halesowen4 calling for David to be reinstated has already received over 1,000 signatures.

Listen to Dave Muritu on BBCWM:

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