A senior official of lecturers' union Natfhe has been poached by the new lecturers-for-hire business backed by college employers. Richard Eve, assistant further education secretary, was given a week to clear his desk and removed from Natfhe's negotiating team in the contracts dispute with the Colleges Employers Forum.
Mr Eve is to become London regional manager of Education Lecturing Services (ELS), which aims to sell colleges self-employed lecturers from a national register. Natfhe has to decide whether to accept a place on the ELS board, but a national executive group which met ELS has advised rejection of the offer.
Natfhe's suspicions about ELS, which is not allowing collective bargaining on pay rates, have been further heightened by the organisation's close association with the discredited former regime at Wilmorton College, Derby.
Three senior figures from Wilmorton are playing a key role in setting up ELS.
Mr Parkes, the former acting principal of Wilmorton who resigned in the wake of the Further Education Funding Council inquiry, is number two in the ELS hierarchy.
Also working for ELS is Rachel Newman, a quality manager at Wilmorton who was appointed to assistant principal in controversial circumstances by former principal Andrew Stromberg. She is still on secondment from Wilmorton to the CEF, which in turn has seconded her to ELS.
Phil Baldy, who was contracted by former Wilmorton corporation chairman Stuart Webb to provide public relations advice during the FEFC inquiry, is now acting in a similar role for ELS.
Natfhe general secretary John Akker said: "There is a great deal of suspicion about ELS because it is seen as backed by the CEF who have been notoriously difficult in the contracts dispute."