Union life ban for Fife rebels

2nd October 1998 at 01:00
TWO prominent members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers have been banned from office for life after being found guilty of bringing the union into disrepute.

Ron Lindsay, Fife president, and Ewan Chalmers, local secretary, who teach at Kirkcaldy High, are appealing against the decision imposed by leading union officials south of the border following a 12-hour hearing at a Fife hotel. Their appeal will be heard in six weeks.

They narrowly escaped being thrown out of the union altogether for infringements of rules and for ignoring the advice of Scottish officials. Both declined to comment ahead of the appeal while the union merely confirmed disciplinary action had taken place.

Mr Lindsay was accused of undermining union authority by repeatedly resorting to grievances against Fife Council. He has made more than 15 formal complaints.

This year he fought Tino Ferri, the union's leading spokesman north of the border, for the one Scottish seat on the United Kingdom national executive but won only a handful of votes.

The teachers further claim lack of support for an East Wemyss primary member dismissed for falsifying job references. Lee Sigournay was subsequently struck off the register by the General Teaching Council for gross professional misconduct and is now appealing to the Court of Session. Curiously, the union is backing the appeal.

Ms Sigournay also alleges that a Fife head sexually harassed her and has lodged a claim through an industrial tribunal.

In a further twist, Mr Lindsay and Mr Chalmers are appealing against a final written warning from Fife over their refusal to wear security badges in school. They now wear the badges.

The NAScharges were due to be heard at union headquarters in Birmingham but were switched to Fife after the teachers called five witnesses to support their case.

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