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Hull MP blasts college chief executive for 'bullying' letter following support of UCU strike

5 May 2016 | last updated: 13 May 2016

A Hull MP has heavily criticised the chief executive of Hull College for sending him a letter of complaint regarding his support of striking workers at the college on Tuesday.

Karl Turner MP, who is the Shadow Attorney General and represents the Kingston Upon Hull East constituency, addressed members of the UCU outside the college during their one-day walkout over pay and lesson observations. During his speech, he outlined his support for the action and urged the college to listen to concerns raised by staff.

On Wednesday, the MP received a letter from the college chief executive Gary Warke expressing 'sincere disappointment' at the MP's decision to support the strike, and accusing him of being 'inappropriate and disrespectful' to the college by not informing the management in advance of his intention to speak at the strike rally.

Mr Turner has written a robust response accusing the college leader of making a 'veiled threat' and using 'bullying tactics'. The MP has also written to the college's board of governors asking them to investigate the chief executive's conduct. All three letters have been published in a blog post on Mr Turner's website.

The dispute has arisen because college management had offered staff a 0.7% pay rise last September, and also pledged to make positive changes to the lesson observation process. However, the college reneged on its promise to make a pay award and staff have complained that the lesson observation system is leaving them more stressed and anxious than ever.

UCU regional official, Julie Kelley, said: 'Tuesday's strike showed how strongly staff feel about the broken promises made by the college over pay and lesson observations, and it was a great encouragement for a local politician to take the time to show his support for members' concerns.

'This is a remarkable response from the college leadership -  instead of criticising a local MP for supporting his constituents, the college should focus on getting back round the table and addressing the issues raised by their staff.'