Row escalates between union and NWRC chiefs

NWRC Strand Road
NWRC Strand Road

A trade union is locked in an increasingly bitter war of words with management at the North West Regional College (NWRC) in a dispute over redundancies and workloads.

In the latest development, five University and College Union (UCU) members at NWRC are allegedly facing disciplinary action after taking part in a protest which coincided with the ministerial opening of a new building at the Strand Road complex.

Thursday’s protest was in support of branch officers who are losing their jobs at the college.

It subsequently emerged that the five UCU members who took part in the protest had been summoned to disciplinary “investigations.”

In a separate development, two UCU officials, who have been told they are to lose their senior lecturer posts at NWRC, are to face appeal hearings before the governing body.

These latest disputes come hard on the heels of protracted rows over redundancies and staff workloads at the college.

UCU’s regional official Jim McKeown claims “normal industrial relations at the college are non-existent.”

“Over the past five years, UCU activists have faced hostility for daring to stand up for members and to defend terms and conditions of employment,” he added.

“These latest acts by management are an attack on the right to peaceful protest.

“In 1968, Derry people led the way for civil rights - now they’re having to do that again. The Minister needs to intervene.”

It’s believed UCU officials will meet with their members at the college this week to organise what it describes as “union resistance” to the latest developments.

In response to the UCU claims, a spokesperson for NWRC said: “North West Regional College does not discuss internal matters pertaining to individual members of staff.”

UCU has around 350 members among lecturing staff at NWRC.