Bolton urged to overturn decision on Markey sackings

Two trade unions are urging the University of Bolton to overturn its decision to dismiss two employees for allegedly leaking information to the press

April 29, 2015

Source: University of Bolton

Jennifer Markey, an academic administrator in the health and community studies department, and her husband Damien Markey, a senior lecturer in visual effects for film and television and secretary of the Bolton branch of the University and College Union, were sacked by the North West institution last month.

An internal appeal hearing for Mr Markey took place yesterday, while a hearing for Ms Markey was being carried out today.

Both deny any role in leaking stories that appeared in the press about expensive staff awaydays to the Lake District and a £960,000 loan from the university to Bolton vice-chancellor George Holmes to facilitate the purchase of a house. Times Higher Education has stated that neither Mr nor Ms Markey was a source for its article on the staff awaydays.

“All eyes will be on the university this week to see if common sense prevails at the appeal hearing,” said Steve Stott, North West regional manager for the Unison union, which is representing Ms Markey at the appeal hearing.

“Jenny and Damien have been very harshly treated by the university and it is rare for a high-profile employer to behave so badly,” he added.

Martyn Moss, North West regional official for the UCU, which is representing Mr Markey during the appeal process, said that the sackings were “completely unjustified”, and that if the appeal hearings did not find that were unfairly dismissed, then the UCU would be “instructing our lawyers to initiate legal action and will push on with a national campaign for justice for Damien and Jenny”.

“There was no investigation and Damien and Jenny are not guilty of the allegations,” he added. “The whole sorry episode has ridden roughshod over the university’s own procedures.”

Students at the university have also launched a campaign group called “We Are Damo”, which is calling for the Markeys to be reinstated.  

A Bolton spokesman said: “The university does not comment on the details of specific cases as it would be inappropriate for an employer to do so.

“The issue raised regarding two former employees of the University of Bolton is an internal matter and the process in question, which was instigated as permitted within the university’s local disciplinary procedures and at law, is subject to an appeal and therefore not completed.”

The outcomes of the appeal hearings are expected in the next two weeks.

chris.parr@tesglobal.com

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Reader's comments (1)

The V-C is determined he will not be moved on this, even though it is his actions that have brought the University into disrepute. He is an autocrat with a close cabal of ex-Doncaster colleagues, plus a Director from Athens (where the V-C would like to grow more 'links'), who never stand up to him or deliver actual advice. If they did, they'd say a mistake has been made and it would befit the university to back down. Bolton employs Gordon Burns (of TV fame) for PR advice at many thousands a month. Not sure that's been money well spent over the last few years? Certainly not over the last few months. Such a shame for the decent staff who are being BULLIED.

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