Another twist at NWRC as lecturer wins battle

In the latest blow to the credibility of management and the Governing Body (GB) of the North West Regional College (NWRC), an independent agency has ruled that GB chairman Bertie Faulkner acted unreasonably and contrary to natural justice in relation to the compulsory redundancy of a senior lecturer.

The lecturer, Gerry Gallagher, had complained that his appeal against redundancy had been heard by three members of the GB who had been involved in earlier stages of the redundancy process and had taken part in a vote declaring unanimously that proper policies and procedures had been followed throughout. The three had been appointed to the appeal panel by Mr. Faulkner.

Mr. Gallagher was a prominent and very active member of the University and Colleges Union at the college.

The independent body convened by the Labour Relations Agency concluded: “It is difficult to see how the three members of the Appeal Panel can have brought a fresh, independent and unbiased approach to the question of whether principles and procedures had been properly followed when they heard the appeal.”

In the decision issued on the 19th of last month, the body recommended that Mr. Gallagher’s redundancy be “set aside” and “as soon as possible a new Appeal Panel should be set up to hear his appeal against the redundancy decision. The Appeal Panel should consist of persons who have not been involved in the conduct of the redundancy process or in supervising that process.”

That is, Mr. Gallagher’s case should not be heard by a panel comprising members of the GB.

While finding for Mr. Gallagher in relation to the objectivity of Appeal Panel, a separate complaint that the process had been rushed was not upheld.

Responding to the finding of the independent body, the Regional Secretary of the University and Colleges Union, Jim McKeown, wrote to Mr. Faulkner on December 21st last saying that “UCU is of the view that your position as Chairman of the Governing Body of this college is not tenable. Staff at the college can no longer have confidence that you will act in affair and impartial manner in your dealings with them and their representatives.”

Disappointing Liverpool FC

The reaction of many to the behaviour of Liverpool football club and Kenny Dalglish in relation to the Suarez affair will have been one of deep disappointment. We might have expected better from a club which has always stood for the best values of sport and a manager who personified decency. What a let-down!

The last-ditch defence of the Uruguayan’s remarks to Patrick Evra is that the Spanish word for black is not regarded in his home country as abusive. Is that so?

So even if he used it ten times, as it’s alleged Evra initially claimed, or seven times, as the Man U player apparently told the FA disciplinary panel, or just once, as Liverpool players are belatedly insisting, no offence should have been taken...

Then there was the suggestion from Sepp Blatter that even if Suarez had indeed racially abused Evra, these things should be settled by a hand-shake after the match. Some surprising commentators have agreed with Blatter. It’s the only thing some of them have ever agreed with Blatter on. Strange,that.

If high emotion during a football game excuses otherwise unacceptable behaviour, the same presumably applies to political demonstrations, confrontations in the pub, disagreements over X Factor voting...

The fundamental question emerging from this controversy is very simple: what possible relevance did the colour of Evra’s skin have to the issue between the players?

If those still defending the player can answer that, they might have a case worth discussing. As it is, they are simply defending racism.


Whoops! Big mistake

Back in August, one of the “celebrities” recruited to support a Daily Express campaign calling for no mercy for rioters who had removed stuff from shops without paying was Antony Worrall Thompson, a cook.

“I am fully in favour of this campaign” he declared. “Getting behind this will show the thugs that they have made a big mistake.”

Quite so. I find myself completely convinced. Lock him up, I say, and put the key for safety in the hoodie pocket of a Tottenham teenager.

Eamonn McCann writes in the Journal every Tuesday