Unions call for strike action as member suspended from Brent college
PUBLISHED: 10:10 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:10 01 December 2016
Union chiefs at a Brent college are calling for strike action over the suspension of one of its members.
The University College Union (UCU) branch committee at the College of NorthWest London, is balloting members in support of Indra Sen, a maths teacher and union branch secretary.
Mr Sen, an opponent of CNWL plans to merge with Westminster College, was suspended in October while representing a former CNWL employee at an employment tribunal.
Colin Purkey, branch chairman of the UCU, said: “The Branch has recommended escalating strike action to compel management to lift the suspension and threat of dismissal.
“We believe it is no coincidence that Sen was suspended just prior to the management of CNWL announcing its intention to merge with City of Westminster College.
Sen has defended us and our college over the years and now it is our turn to defend our Sen and defend our college.”
The Times reported the major outcry in 2013 when plans were announced for CNWL, which has campus’ in Wembley Park and Dudden Hill Lane, to be merged with The City of Westminster College.
Mr Sen said: “Regardless that I am suspended, if the merger goes ahead students will suffer. They will have to travel much further. This site will become an annex out of Westminster. This college has served this community for many years. It is so important for our students who come from such varied backgrounds. They need something like this. We can’t see its independence being surrendered.
A spokesman for CNWL said merger plans were back on track. He added: “Full statements were issued to staff about collaboration plans in October 2015 when they were first made, and regularly since. The proposal to work towards to a merger with City of Westminster College was made in October 2016 with open meetings and written communications provided to all staff.
“Both colleges’ governing bodies are working through the merger proposal and will finalise a decision on taking this forward in December, with a view to merger being completed in August 2017.
“The college did receive notification from UCU over an intention to ballot members on strike action regarding the suspension of Mr Sen.”