A lobby outside Halesowen College on Monday morning 7th January in support of the Halesowen 4 was supported by around 100 UCU members and others. After a branch meeting and a campaign group meeting on Tuesday 8th, the following action was agreed:
Branch passed motion of no confidence in senior management ability to support students or staff
Branch passed motion calling for national day of action in branches Friday 18th January and national protest Halesowen Sat 26th Jan
Branch endorsed call for ballot for strike action and action short of a strike, which kicks of process of ballot now going out to members
In addition the campaign also agreed to organise a lobby for 12.45Thursday 24 Jan for Dave Muritu’s appeal hearing.
Below is an extract from Dave’s dismissal letter which will gives a sense of the seriousness with which every lecturer should view the grounds given by the college for his dismissal and which should send a shiver down any teacher’s spine:
‘As a result, I have no alternative but to terminate your employment. The reason is not gross misconduct, because you have not committed one individual act of misconduct, nor is it individual under-performance because your lesson observations have shown you to be a “Good” lecturer in the classroom. The reason is some other substantial reason arising from the consistent failure to carry out the fundamental part of your job as lecturer which is to ensure that students fulfill their potential and achieve their expected levels of attanment’
( Mary Higgins, Director of Planning and Students, 20 December 2012)
We now have to throw ourselves into building solidarity with Dave and his colleagues (whose hearings took place on Monday).
i. make sure the college is flooded with letters of protest and the branch with messages of support:
ii. organise a solidarity protest on Friday 18th January. For example, a protest at the college entrance with members holding big letters and placards, a protest meeting, inviting someone from Halesowen if possible.
iii. make plans now for getting members and branch banners to Halesowen for the protest outside the college Open Day on Saturday 26th January.
There is an online petition at http://tinyurl.com/Halesowen4 calling for Dave to be reinstated which has already received over 1,000 signatures. Please take a few minutes to add your name and UCU branch support now.
Please make sure you and your branch send messages of support to Dave and the other victimised UCU members and write letters of protest to the college Principal. This case, where staff are being attacked and sacked on the basis of predicted exam results and erroneous statistics, has implications for anyone working in FE and HE.