Two senior officers in the UK's second-largest teaching union have been allowed to continue in office following a tribunal hearing into whether they were ineligible.
Both the NASUWT’s national president, Dave Kitchen, and its national treasurer, Russ Walters, were not eligible to hold office because they are not serving teachers, it was claimed at a tribunal hearing at the government's trade union Certification Office in Belfast.
By being in office, they allegedly breached the union’s own rules that only people who are employed as qualified teachers or who are contracted to “teach, lecture or instruct” are eligible for full membership of the NASUWT.
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Certification officer for Northern Ireland Sarah Havlin accepted that the two men did not teach, but ruled that because they still held contracts the union’s rules were met.
NASUWT leadership ruling
Her ruling states: "In my assessment, evidence of actively teaching is irrelevant if a person can establish that they are employed as a qualified teacher. The test is not the action of teaching; the test is the existence of an employment contract held by a qualified teacher who holds that contract because they are a qualified teacher. "
Ms Havlin also ruled that Dan McCarthy, Kitchen’s predecessor, had met the eligibility requirements set out in the rules at the time of his election, even though he had subsequently retired from teaching.
She said: "I find that Mr McCarthy met the requirements of Rule 4(1)(a) at the time of his election and therefore for the whole of his four-year term of office as per Rule 20(2)(c). The fact that he chose to voluntarily stand down from office in March 2019 and why he did that is not relevant to my findings."