Staff disputes hit Anglican colleges

May 17, 1996

Two Anglican church colleges are embroiled in industrial relations upheavals involving dismissals of senior members of staff.

Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education has lost an industrial tribunal which found in favour of a claim for unfair dismissal by Gill James, former head of the Cheltenham International Language Centre.

Meanwhile staff at King Alfred's College in Winchester are holding a strike ballot against 12 compulsory redundancies announced last week.

Evelyn Henson, former personnel chief at Cheltenham who is acting for Ms James, said: "This is yet another case where a woman was treated as of no consequence by a group of male managers. Her claim for the right to be involved in decision-making has been totally vindicated. The college must now reconsider the quality of its management practices."

Ms James said she was delighted by the outcome. "I had earned the right to be consulted and to be given proper consideration," she said.

The college said it had not yet recieved the tribunal judgement so had not taken any decisions over an appeal.

The hearing will reconvene in June to decide on compensation. The college has been dogged by difficulties since last year when a senior lecturer was paid Pounds 2,000 in a settlement negotiated by lecturers' union Natfhe. She claimed a performance-related pay scheme discriminated against female part-timers.

In addition, Ms Henson is acting for four separate tribunal applications against the college. One is an equal pay claim and the other three relate to her own claim of unfair dismissal in December 1995.

At King Alfred's College, Natfhe members are planning a summer of protest against the redundancies which they claim will damage the stability of the college and undermine its plans to gain university status.

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