Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the College of North West London are preparing to go on strike on Thursday to protest against the suspension of a colleague.
Indro Sen, a maths teacher at the college and a UCU branch secretary, was suspended in October after he represented a former colleague at an employment tribunal. According to UCU, the college said that Mr Sen did not have time off to attend the hearing, and that his absence amounted to gross misconduct.
In a recent ballot, UCU members at the college voted overwhelmingly for the strike to support Mr Sen – with 95 per cent opting for the walkout.
Mr Sen is an outspoken critic of the College of North West London’s plans to merge with City of Westminster College. Mr Sen, speaking to the Brent & Kilburn Times in December, said the move would result in the college becoming “an annex out of Westminster”. “Regardless that I am suspended, if the merger goes ahead students will suffer," he said. "They will have to travel much further. This site will become an annex out of Westminster. This college has served this community for many years. It is so important for our students who come from such varied backgrounds. They need something like this. We can’t see its independence being surrendered."
A public meeting for the UCU's ‘Defend Sen Campaign’ is set for Friday at Willesden Library.
'Left with no option'
UCU regional official Una O’Brien said: “Industrial action is always a last resort and we remain open to negotiations to try to resolve the dispute but, following the continued suspension of Indro Sen, members have been left with no option but to take strike action.”
A College of North West London spokesperson said: “We have been notified of Thursday’s strike action by UCU. Mr Sen has been suspended as a result of an ongoing disciplinary investigation. We do not comment on such matters while they are taking place. However, the college rejects any suggestion that Mr Sen has been suspended for anything other than the disciplinary investigation mentioned above. The college will be doing everything possible to minimise disruption to learners.”