College guilty of redundancy by ageism

16th February 1996 at 00:00
I was surprised that your article (TESS, January 12) on Falkirk College did not appear as a paid advertisement. I was deeply involved in exposing the unfair and prejudiced system used by Caroline Jones and Falkirk College to try to make one of my constituents redundant. I easily identified my constituent as victim two in Neil Munro's article, but was shocked at the way The TES Scotland was used as a vehicle for a PR "make-over" for the college and Ms Jones.

The fact is that the college authorities withdrew the redundancy notice so unfairly slapped on my constituent. They had no option after the inadequate basis of the evidence submitted to support the decision was exposed. The college's failures on consultation only further exposed the vicious exercise they had mounted to get rid of a particular lecturer to solve a budget problem.

In the end my constituent was offered and accepted an early retirement package. This was rather than put her colleagues through the secret and highly suspect appraisal system thought up by Falkirk College. As I proved to the college chair and senior staff, the system they used was less sensitive than that used in more difficult "down-sizing" exercises in the petrochemical industry in my constituency.

It is my opinion that my constituent was victimised because of her age. She was the oldest member of staff in her section having had 20 years industrial experience before taking a lecturer's position. The role of Caroline Jones in the appraisal of my constituent was highly suspect. Neil Munro's portrayal does not fit the "smiling assassin's hand" I came to know during my detailed review of this cruel exercise.

Dr Sharp's mea culpa was completely inadequate to describe what really happened. The college stooped to new depths of professional distortion and were found out. The board now retain little credibility with staff and the public and as a consequence the college may never achieve its potential.

MICHAEL CONNARTY Labour MP for Falkirk East

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