Members' wrath hits principals

Francis Beckett

Francis Beckett reports from Blackpool as the minister wins over NATFHE, despite a vote of no confidence in his boss

ELIZABETH Blakemore, acting principal of the scandal-hit Cricklade College in Hampshire during the suspension of its principal, was accused of triumphalism after lecturer Andy Murray lost his victimisation claim at a tribunal.

Mr Murray claimed he was victimised for his union activities, and for his part in revealing the mismanagement which eventually led to the departure of

the principal. Mrs Blakemore

has insisted these matters were unconnected to his redundancy.

The accusation, from Mick Jardine of southern region, came in the week that Mrs Blakemore was criticised for her handling of Mr Murray's case by a Department for Education and Employment report.

Sir Pat Lowry, former chairman of the Conciliation and Arbitration Advisory Service, told ministers that Mrs Blakemore "must share some of the criticisms I have of the management of the college at that time". <> Mr Jardine claimed Mrs Blakemore had told fellow principals the union had been "trounced". "She has behaved very badly. It's been a dirty fight," he said.

Meanwhile, Basildon College lecturers brought news of the suspension of its principal Chris Chapman. Most of the college's NATFHE members had written to the Further Education Funding Council to complain about the style of management at the college.

The union is now fighting Woolwich College's bid to sack 597 part-time lecturers and hire staff solely via the controversial agency Educational Lecturing Services. Croydon College's proposal to turn part-time lecturers into agency staff has stalled following NATFHE protests to the local MP, lifelong learning minister Malcolm Wicks.

Harrow College has been forced to pay back pound;700,000 to the FEFC. Lecturer John Kreeger said: "The college refused to implement the pay award. Yet for 30 voluntary redundancies a special grant of pound;500,000 was available. That's the crazy world we live in."


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Francis Beckett

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