Politicians call for NWRC investigation

Derry’s most senior politicians have called for an independent investigation into a staff dispute at the North West Regional College (NWRC).

Relations between staff and management at the College have broken down in recent months. In January around 60 staff were informed their jobs were at risk.

Then in June the ‘Journal’ revealed that five University and College Union members at NWRC were 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. And that two further 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.

Now, Derry MP Mark Durkan and all six of the city’s MLA’s have written to the north’s further education minister Stephen Farry calling for an investigation - and the suspension of redundancies and redeployments.

In the joint letter, the politicians write: “We collectively believe that the tensions between management and academic staff can be alleviated by addressing concerns through an independent investigation into Human Resource practices, ethos/morale and long term staff relations going forward. To create a more conducive attitude for an effective exploration of all the issues involved all disciplinary proceedings should be stalled along with compulsory redundancies and redeployments.”

In a statement issued last night a spokeswoman for NWRC said the college “provides a quality education and training provision to the population of the North West region.”

“The College abides by all regional agreements negotiated through the relevant staff negotiating committees and consults widely with all trades unions on local issues.

“The implementation of all procedures at College level is audited through an internal audit process and all audit reports indicate that College Management is compliant in all aspects of implementation,” she said.