Sociologist fights dismissal

April 24, 1998

TROUBLED Doncaster College was in the limelight this week as the case of lecturer John Giddins, who claims wrongful dismissal, came to industrial tribunal in Sheffield.

Mr Giddins was made compulsorily redundant from his lecturing post in sociology last year. Mr Giddins was branch secretary of lecturers' union Natfhe and his dismissal was seen by colleagues and the union as punishment for his role in the four-year dispute over new contracts. The college vigorously denied these claims.

Anthony Longworth, deputy principal, told the tribunal that the college had been forced to make savings of Pounds 2.25 million by 1999/2000. He said trade unions were told that permanent recurrent savings were needed and that sufficient savings had not been possible from outside staff budgets. "We tried all means available to reduce the impact on the staff," Mr Longworth said.

Mr Longworth said he "totally refuted" the suggestion that redundancy procedures discriminated against Mr Giddins, who had been given opportunities to challenge the decision at three stages in the process and had been invited to apply for a part-time post in another department.

Doncaster College hit national headlines last year amid claims of nepotism. Nina Ashurst resigned as clerk to the governors following concerns about a possible conflict of interest. Her husband is Terry Ashurst, college principal.

The tribunal is scheduled to end today.

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