Protestors will take to the streets of West Bromwich tomorrow (Saturday) to protest against the “heavy-handed” sacking of Sandwell College lecturer and union activist Dave Muritu.

The march will start at 12.30pm outside the West Bromwich campus on Spon Lane.

Speakers will include Dave Muritu, University and College Union (UCU) general secretary-elect Jo Grady, the union’s head of further education Andrew Harden and local councillors Salma Yaqoob and Pete Lowe.

A ballot for strike action at the college opened today (Friday) as Muritu’s colleagues vowed to fight for his reinstatement. The ballot closes on Friday 12 July. The row centres on the sacking of maths lecturer Muritu for writing on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme. Although Muritu admitted to the incident and apologised for his actions, the college dismissed him at the end of May.

UCU said such a heavy-handed and disproportionate response from the college had to be down to Muritu’s trade union activities. Muritu is the local branch secretary of UCU, and played a key role in negotiating a landmark pay deal for staff last year.

Almost 7,000 people have signed a petition calling for Muritu’s reinstatement, while shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and shadow labour minister Laura Pidcock have also shown their support for the campaign.

UCU general secretary-elect Jo Grady said: ‘On Saturday protestors in West Bromwich will send a clear message to Sandwell College that the heavy-handed sacking of Dave Muritu is not acceptable. They join MPs and the thousands of people who have called for the college to reverse its decision to sack Dave.

‘Sandwell has said that Dave’s actions didn’t bring the college into disrepute, so we can only assume that he is being singled out for his trade union activities. The protests come as Dave’s colleagues are being balloted for strike action and the college can expect to face serious disruption if it does not think again.’


A row at Sandwell College over the “heavy-handed” sacking of a lecturer has escalated with staff being asked to back strike action.

The strike ballot will open on Friday 21 June and close on Friday 12 July. The row centres on the sacking of maths lecturer Dave Muritu for writing on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme. Although Muritu admitted to the incident and apologised for his actions, the college dismissed him at the end of May.

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The University and College Union (UCU) said such a heavy-handed and disproportionate response from the college had to be down to Muritu’s trade union activities. Muritu is the local branch secretary of UCU, and played a key role in negotiating a landmark pay deal for staff last year.

Muritu is currently appealing the college’s decision, but UCU said the college’s refusal to budge from its hardline position had left his colleagues with no option but to ballot for action.

UCU acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said:

‘The heavy-handed response to Dave’s actions by Sandwell College was completely out of line and the widespread condemnation from staff, students and politicians is no surprise.

‘By the college’s own admission, Dave’s actions didn’t bring the college into disrepute, so it appears that he is being singled out for his trade union activities. The fact the college refuses to budge from its hardline position has left staff with no option but to ballot for strike action.’


Union calls for reinstatement of sacked Sandwell College activist 

Sandwell College has been accused of losing all sense of proportion over the dismissal of a lecturer, and warned it could face industrial action if the decision is not reversed.

The college sacked Dave Muritu for gross misconduct on Wednesday. Muritu had written on a poster promoting the controversial Prevent programme.

Muritu admitted to drawing on the poster and apologised for his actions but, although the college acknowledged that his actions didn’t bring the institution into disrepute, he was summarily dismissed last week.

The University and College Union (UCU) said such a heavy-handed and disproportionate response from the college had to be down to Muritu’s trade union activities. Muritu is the local branch secretary of UCU, and played a key role in negotiating a landmark pay deal for staff last year.

The Prevent duty has been widely criticised by trade unions, the National Union of Students and faith groups, and will shortly be subject to an independent review.

UCU has launched a petition calling on Sandwell College to reinstate Muritu, and warned that industrial action could be on the cards if he is not reinstated.

UCU acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said:

‘The college has lost all sense of proportion in dealing with Mr Muritu’s case. The incident was clearly a moment of frustration for which he has apologised, but the college has refused to budge from its hardline position.

‘The college has acknowledged that his actions didn’t bring the college into disrepute, so it seems this incident is being used as an excuse to attack Mr Muritu for his trade union activities. We will not simply stand by and allow this to happen, and the college should be prepared to face industrial action if the decision is not swiftly reversed.’

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