Unions in sackings row

May 29, 1998

Lecturers' union Natfhe has come under fire from staff at the University College of St Mark and St John, Plymouth, over its handling of a row over whistleblowing.

One Natfhe member has quit the union, condemning "grotesquely inappropriate behaviour by paid union officials". Two other members have written letters of protest, with one accusing Natfhe of "an abuse of justice and fair play".

The problem centres on Natfhe's action following the sacking of lecturers David Harris and Nigel Mace, accused of harassment, which both deny, after complaining about standards on media studies courses. Both are former Natfhe members, but have won backing from the rival Association of University Teachers for reinstatement.

Natfhe officials allegedly supported the complaints of harassment at a meeting with 47 branch members last January. The motion carried at that meeting is said to have encouraged management to press for disciplinary action that led to the dismissals.

AUT general secretary David Triesman said that the men had been "persecuted" for raising "quite proper" internal complaints.

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