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Posted on 19 January 2012 at 11:52 GMT

UCU activists suspended in North Wales

Coleg Harlech in North Wales has suspended three trade union tutors and is threatening to discipline them for gross misconduct.

The three are myself, Peter Jones, Vice Chair of UCU Cymru and Ray Williams a long standing UCU activist the local area.

Craig Lewis

The three of us raised a formal grievance over non-payment of travel expenses to part-time tutors and withholding of holiday pay.

The day after the grievance hearing, which was taken up on behalf of all part-timers in the College, the three of us received letters accusing us of gross misconduct by refusing a "reasonable" instruction.

The College appears to be claiming that, even though we are paid on zero hours contracts, we have no right to refuse work.

Moreover, they appear to be claiming that even if the work involves considerable travelling (in one case nearly 200 miles!) we must accept the work or be "guilty" of a breach of contract.

Coleg Harlech is an adult education college similar to Northern College in England and does not currently recognise UCU. However UCU activists in the College have recently been recruiting significant numbers of part-timers and

we are about to formally establish a branch. All three of us were active in building the N30 strike in north Wales.

Management have agreed to meet UCU representatives next Monday but we cannot rule out the fact that this is a deliberate act of victimisation and intimidation.

Your support will be important if we are to put pressure on management to lift the threat of disciplinary action and establish sensible industrial relations at the college.

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