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Strike over dismissal suspended as talks restart

Lecturers at Epping Forest College, in Essex, suspended a strike planned for this week and have resumed talks in a bid to reinstate their sacked union representative.

The University and College Union balloted members over industrial action, claiming Hugh Hobson, the union's branch chairman, was dismissed after an unfair accusation of gross misconduct. The union was also protesting at other disciplinary proceedings against staff.

Since the ballot, the college principal, Peter Sadler, has been dismissed before completing his probationary period, prompting the union to resume talks.

Mr Sadler has announced his intention to appeal against his sacking. The college said it is in negotiations with him.

In a statement agreed with the college, the union said it suspended the strike after joint talks overseen by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the Government-funded industrial relations body.

It said: "This will enable time for the parties to continue a constructive dialogue and to agree the best way forward for the college."

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