Defend the Halesowen 4

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Bosses at Halesowen College have launched an outrageous attack on union activists, writes UCU Left

On Thursday 20th December the branch secretary of Halesowen College UCU branch, Dave Muritu, was sacked on trumped up charges relating to student grades and achievement in A-Level Maths. Dave is an active UCU member and has often opposed management at the college. Three other colleagues who also teach maths face similar action at their hearings planned for the beginning of next term.

Below are extracts from a message posted on the union’s Activists List this morning by the Acting Branch Secretary, Rhiannon Lockley:

On Thursday night our branch secretary, Dave Muritu, was sacked, not following process (evidence was not provided to us 3 days prior to the hearing, in accordance with our local and ACAS guidelines) or following any precedented grounds for dismissal – he has been accused (in spite of achieving grade 2 lesson observations) of failing to support students outside of the classroom – with no evidence of this produced.

3 more maths lecturers who are active UCU members will be under disciplinary hearings in the next 2 weeks, with probable dismissals. We will be lobbying the hearings (for details of the lobby please contact the branch on the e-mail address below.) – we would be really grateful for any support with this, putting together a campaign group, and the branch have passed a motion to ballot for escalating industrial action.

This is a truly outrageous attack by the college management. It raises all sorts of concerns about academic standards, links to capability and disciplinary action, and responsibility avoidance by college managers.

Dave’s dismissal letter includes the line “you must be held accountable for the results of the students”.
Yet senior management at the college have consistently failed to support the Maths teachers over a period of time and have clearly targeted these staff under threat of dismissal. They have reportedly hired replacement staff even before the dismissal decisions have been reached! Clearly Dave’s dismissal, and the likely dismissal of the other three, has very serious implications throughout FE and HE should they be upheld.

Despite the start of the Christmas break we urge all supporters to send a message of support to Dave Muritu via his branch and a message of protest to the college principal.

Messages to Dave and the branch: [email protected]

The Principal’s email is   [email protected]

Please take a few minutes this weekend to forward your messages of support and sign this petition.

Cross-posted with thanks from UCU Left 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Greg
    January 9, 2013 at 8:18 am · Reply

    Dave Muritu was interviewed on BBC Radio WM earlier in the week. It can be heard from 2h 19m into this broadcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p012fn1q

  2. David
    January 9, 2013 at 10:02 pm · Reply

    UCU are organising the following:

    Please support the actions that Halesowen College is taking in order that we build maximum solidarity with Dave and his colleagues:

    – National day of Action in branches on Friday 18th January – can you organise a lunchtime protest/ rally and take photos to send to Halesowen College? Can you invite a Halesowen member to speak at the protest? A leaflet with info is available at : http://wmr.web.ucu.org.uk/files/2013/01/Halesowen-Leaflet-web.pdf

    – National Protest at Halesowen College on Saturday 26th January – can you come to Halesowen with a delegation and your college banner on Saturday 26th? Address: Halesowen College, Whittinghall Road, Halesowen B63 3NA

    – Please send messages of support to the branch at [email protected] and send letters of protest to the college at [email protected] or Keith Bate, Principal, Halesowen College, Whittinghall Road, Halesowen B63 3NA

    – If you haven’t already, please sign and circulate the petition http://tinyurl.com/Halesowen4

    The branch has also endorsed a call for ballot for strike action and action short of strike. More news reports and details are below.

  3. Kirstie Paton (Greenwich NUT)
    January 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm · Reply

    On Friday the management sacked another 3 UCU members of the Maths department on the same spurious grounds. Read the blog for more info. This has now become a struggle of national significance for the trade union movement and especially education workers who know only too well that this use of anti union victimisation is on the increase in our schools and colleges and must be fought.

    The campaign is calling on all trade unionists to join the Lobby on 26 January which is the opening day of the college to let the management know that we will fight this all the way until the teachers are reinstated.

    http://justiceforhalesowenfour.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/update-all-members-of-the-halesowen-4-are-dismissed-campaign-builds/

  4. Aubrey
    January 14, 2013 at 12:08 am · Reply

    Maybe one day UK Academic Unions Union will support ordinary members who are not “activists”. All I see in a multitude of instances is dismal Union failure and hypocrisy even over the most serious of issues.

  5. James D
    January 17, 2013 at 11:34 pm · Reply

    There will be protests at lunch time on Friday 18 January at colleges up and down the country.

    For more details about the specifics of the case – and yes, it is truly shocking management incompetence and union-busting – see the latest UCU press release:

    http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6428&from=6411

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