Sacked steward awarded pound;37,000;FE Focus

5th February 1999 at 00:00
A technician unfairly sacked by Halton College has been awarded pound;37,000 in compensation by an Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Laurence Keen, who had been employed by the Cheshire college for more than 20 years and was steward for the public services union UNISONfor much of that time, was made redundant in August 1997. At the original tribunal, Mr Keen's counsel had argued that he had been "marked down" because of his role as a union activist and that the criteria used to select people for redundancy were deliberately weighed against him.

The tribunal was told that there was a culture of anti-unionism at the college and that the then principal Martin Jenkins saw Mr Keen as a "non-supporter" of his mission for the college.

The tribunal rejected the college's appeal against the original ruling, saying it was satisfied that it had been a reasonable one.

Mr Keen said he was relieved at the outcome. "Although I still feel very bitter at losing my job in this way after 23 years service and hard work for Halton College, it is satisfying to know that tribunal processes can work for employees treated this way."

Mr Jenkins and his deputy Jenny Dolphin were suspended on full pay in May last year pending an investigation by the Further Education Funding Council into a series of financial allegations surrounding funding claims for non- existent students. The funding council's report is expected imminently.

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