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Axe Falls on Some of Colleges Most Experienced Educators, says NATFHE

The experienced staff at Newcastle College face a troubled time with the revelation that several have been sent notices of dismissal by College Principal Jackie Fisher.

The news may well have surprised many in the area, but NATFHE, the UK’s University and College Lecturers” Union, are unfortunately not surprised in the least. This action has been criticised by the local NATFHE representative. The notices of dismissal have been sent to those staff who have, as yet, not signed a new contract, and it is described as “one of the worst[actions] in the country” by NATFHE. Some of the staff involved have more than 25 years of service and experience behind them.

NATFHE Take No Pleasure from Correct Foresight

This follows the announcement from NATFHE earlier this year, when they revealed that the College had plans to dismiss teaching staff who have who have not signed a new contract. The college at the time rebuffed these claims, telling their entire staff on the 30th June 2005: “This is categorically untrue.” In a further twist, these lecturers were recently invited to celebrate their long-service with senior managers and governors of the College.

A NATFHE representative in the College commented: “It gives us no joy now to say that we were right.” The dismissals form a part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions, which dispute has already seen seven days of strike action. NATFHE are currently surveying their members at the college to formulate a completely accurate assessment of the impact that these dismissals will have on the workload and attitude of other professionals.

NATFHE Condemn College

The Regional Support Officer from NATFHE, Joyce Harris, spoke out against this development, saying: “It is appalling that the Principal has taken this step and issued dismissal notices and it does nothing for the image of the College. The union has already “greylisted” Newcastle College and we are advising our members not to apply for jobs there.

“Whilst the College may say that they have done everything they can to try and resolve the dispute and avoid issuing dismissal notices, the reality is that they haven”t,” she continued. “Our members are clear about the worsening conditions, extra hours and cuts in pay that they face, and this dispute will continue until this is resolved.”

She advised the college that discussions with NATFHE were the only way out of this situation, saying: “Until Newcastle College acts responsibly in industrial relations matters, it will continue to have problems that can only be solved by sitting down with us and thrashing out a settlement.”

Jethro Marsh

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