What do you call an employer that circumvents long-established disciplinary procedures and sacks the branch secretary of its recognised trade union on the last day before the seasonal break? There are many unpleasant names that spring to mind, but because it's Christmas I'll use this employer's official title: Halesowen College.
I reproduce below the statement supporting the reinstatement of UCU branch secretary, David Muritu. It is my understanding that this is just the beginning. Entirely coincidentally, of course, three more active members of the union are facing disciplinaries. This comes ahead of strike action planned in the New Year, which was unanimously endorsed by local UCU members. When that's the case, you know management must be as poor as it is bellicose.
From what I can gather, David is popular among staff and students at the college. Like a number of others, he works ridiculous hours for his students against a pretty shoddy background. I ask you, what other college makes lecturers cover two classes *at the same time*, foists non-specialists to teach certain specialised courses, and fails to provide specialist cover when there are absences?
They're hardly cash-strapped either. According to their own minutes of June's corporate meeting, they have an operating *surplus* of over £2.7m. Management's actions are plain bizarre. You can only agree with the petition statement's opening, David Muritu's sacking "is an attack on eduction and trade unionism".
Make sure you sign the petition. Solidarity messages to the branch can be sent via HalesowenUCU_branch_secretary@hotmail.com
Halesowen College: Reinstate David Muritu as a Maths Lecturer at the college
This is an attack on education and trades unionism. On December 20th Dave Muritu, a known local socialist trades union activist, was sacked from his position as Maths lecturer. This followed disregard of the college disciplinary procedure (no evidence was presented 3 days in advance of the hearing), without anything other than deductive reasoning (his sacking was linked to results, with no regard for competency procedure or accurate review of statistical significance (his results are above national average).
Please sign and convey your disappointment in the college failure to prioritise student needs and achievement over politics. The only logical conclusion which can be drawn from the situation is that as no substantial evidence has been produced, Dave has been sacked on grounds of disagreement with the principal on educational theory and politics. The maths department have received considerable lack of support in the face of student needs, including
1) Failure of the principal to agree specialist cover in staff absence, inspite of a substantial surplus which could fund this
2) Students in a functional lesson being encouraged by management to give up the studies their time is allocated for in order to participate in a “focus group” based around leading questions with no rigorous development or consistent recording of data
3) Victimisation of a known trades unionist, along with possible victimisation of other known activists in the maths department, setting a precedent for activists to be targeted with knock-on effects for other trades-unionists nationally.
Please sign and join us in fighting this outrageous decision collectively.