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Posted on 26 May 2011 at 13:35 GMT

Spontaneous lecturers' walkout in South Wales against victimisation

Guy Stoate (L) addresses a UCU Cymru rally in defence of pensions in Cardiff Bay on 24.511., photo Edmund Schluessel

Guy Stoate (L) addresses a UCU Cymru rally in defence of pensions in Cardiff Bay on 24.511., photo Edmund Schluessel   (Click to enlarge)

Lecturers walked out of Coleg Morgannwg, with campuses in Aberdare, Nangarw, Pontypridd and elsewhere in the South Wales valleys, on Wednesday 25th May in support of University and College Union Cymru (UCU Cymru) president Guy Stoate.

Guy is being victimised for his trade union activity through a draconian and ludicrous application of college rules: college management is saying that he told a colleague he would be "a scab" if he were to cross a picket line and that this is bullying and harassment.

As UCU Cymru president, Guy has been an outspoken opponent in cuts to education and launched an attack on proposals to cut the quality of child care training across Wales the day before his disciplining.

Coleg Morgannwg UCU branch chair Ian Bosworth said in a press release:

"At a recent branch meeting lecturers unanimously voted to back Guy. Today's spontaneous protest shows how strongly staff feel.

"This is not just an attack on an individual but on the whole union. There is strong feeling that if management can pick on a union officer like this then we are all weakened.

"We are demanding that this disciplinary action is stopped at once. If they persist in this unwarranted attack then the branch has made it clear it will take further industrial action.

"We have the full support of UCU Cymru and the NEC of the UK-wide union".

The attack on Guy is the third victimisation of a prominent UCU Cymru activist in two years. Hamish Murphy, formerly branch chair of Glyndwr University UCU, was sacked for criticising university management in 2009.

Liza van Zyl, an organiser in University of Glamorgan UCU, was also sacked in 2010 for trade union activities; Dr van Zyl's legal challenge to her victimisation is ongoing.

Lecturers across Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom are in dispute with employers over proposed cuts to lecturers' pensions. The UCU plans to coordinate industrial action against cuts to the public sector with the NUT, PCS and other unions on 30 June.

Edmund Schluessel, Cardiff University UCU (pc)

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