14 February 2013
Halesowen College UCU branch members will be on strike this Thursday, 14 February against the sackings of 4 maths lecturers including the branch secretary, Dave Muritu. All 4 were dismissed for the same reasons ‘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 attainment’. This should send a shiver down the spine of any teacher!
There were no issues of the lecturers’ competence and none of them had any conduct issues cited in their dismissal.
Management admit their were no individual classroom capability issues connected to the dismissals. UCU pointed to evidence that management had systematically failed to properly resource and support the Maths team yet these facts were ignored and the lecturers dismissed from their jobs, scapegoated, in effect, for management failings.
At the same time it is no coincidence that this action has been taken against active members and oficers of the UCU branch at Halesowen College.
At a time when colleges and universities are piling the pressure through increasing workloads and performance management, the arbitrary and improper dismissal of teaching staff for the ‘underachievement’ of students sets a serious precedent.
Picketing starts at 7am at Whittingham road, Halesowen, B63 3NA. Followed by breakfast/UCU branch meeting at 10.30 in Wagon and Horses pub to decide next strike days.
Report by Brian O’Sullivan, Chair West Midlands UCU (pc)
Halesowen UCU Branch are circulating the following call for support:
Local picket support: Locally anyone who is not working on Thursday can support the picket by coming to Halesowen College, Whittingham Road, Halesowen, B63 3NA from 7.30 (or 7 for early birds), followed by a breakfast meeting at the Wagon and Horses, Stourbridge Road, Halesowen from 10.
Valentines cards: UCU Campaigns have produced the “no love lost” card which branches can use to photograph with members – the photos we received on the day of action really helped in boosting morale, especially for the 4 dismissed lecturers who were really really touched to see the level of support around the country. You can also make personal “love heart cards” – e.g. “We love employment rights, support the Halesowen 4″ or “(Branch) <3 Halesowen UCU”. These can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweeted to @halesowencoll and @halesowenUCU (hashtag #lovethehalesowen4) and posted on facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/justiceforhalesowenfour
Cookies and cakes: Newman UCU, one of our local sister branches, have come up with the idea of selling cakes. You could make cakes or cookies to sell in branch with UCU and a 4 iced on, possibly heart shapes? (depending on icing skills!)
Stall: Again an idea from Newman UCU, they will be setting up a stall for their cakes with info about the case (see attached) with a laptop on the petition encouraging people to sign: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/halesowen-college-reinstate-david-muritu-as-a-maths-lecturer-at-the-college http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/halesowen-college-reinstate-david-muritu-as-a-maths-lecturer-at-the-college
Video: There is a high quality video at the bottom of this link which can be shown in branch to give more information http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6433
Video support messages: We were really grateful to receive a video support message last time, and thought this was something that could be done again, perhaps members holding up the love heart material to give personal messages or a branch message
Collections: Any collections in branch will be really really gratefully received: there are details on how to send on the money here Request for support Halesowen UCU