Unhappy hall tutors face bailiffs

October 17, 1997

FOUR hall tutors are resisting eviction by their employer, Manchester University, which has decided they have been looking after students for too long.

The hall tutors have a total of 80 years' service between them and were dismayed last Friday to be given a week to be out of their flats in university accommodation.

University spokesman Alan Fearns said a decision to replace hall tutors every five years had been taken in August 1996. He said the four, one of whom had been in the job for 24 years, had been given at least 12 months' notice of the rule change and had been offered assistance to find alternative homes.

But David Forrest, 44, who has lived in a self-contained flat in Owens Park alongside 1,000 students for 16 years, fears that the bailiffs will now remove him although he has nowhere else to go.

"I have put my heart and soul in to this job and I am very angry at the treatment I have received in return," he said.

Mr Forrest, also an economics lecturer at nearby Salford University, is claiming unfair dismissal from Manchester University on age discrimination grounds. He has already been through the university grievance procedure and will go before an industrial tribunal later this year supported by the Association of University Teachers.

Brian Everett, Manchester's AUT officer, said he had been negotiating with the university when the four hall tutors received eviction notices last Friday.

Hall tutors have a duty of pastoral care towards students in their residence. They do not get paid although they get free meals in term time in return for their services and they pay a modest rent of Pounds 600 per year.

Mr Forrest said the work was very varied. Some weeks he had little to do with the students but other weeks he could have to deal with anything from a medical emergency to over-zealous party-goers at 2am. The most rewarding part of the job, however, was in building up relationships with the students and being part of their community.

The university has already appointed four postgraduate students to take over as hall tutors in Owens Park. They are in temporary student accommodation.

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