New contracts strictly imposed on Manchester College staff as principal raises own pay

Article published: Wednesday, June 9th 2010

Staff at The Manchester College (TMC) are having new contracts imposed under little or no consultation, with significant changes to working conditions. Meanwhile, much criticised principal Peter Tavernor has awarded himself a 10 per cent pay rise and now earns more than the Prime Minister.

Staff were sent letters proposing changes to their contracts and requesting attendance of a consultation meeting. Days later however they were handed finalised contracts and given one week to sign and return them under threat of losing their jobs.

Since the contracts were handed out, staff have negotiated an extra working week to sign and individuals are meeting with management and human resources representatives to discuss individual issues with the contracts. Many remain suspicious though that their concerns are being dismissed and that they are being given an unreasonable ultimatum to sign or leave, and some are complaining about “bullying and intimidation by managers”.

“Clearly this is unnacceptable practice, employees need time to fully consider the impact of changes to working conditions,” said one member of staff, who wished not to be named for fear of reprisals.

Of the conditions of the new contracts themselves they suggested: “These changes will have a significant effect on families who face extra travel and childcare costs. The lowest paid employees are faced with bearing the costs of these efficiencies.”

Under the new contract proposals, staff face increased teaching hours and commitments and a reduction in holidays. The University and College Union (UCU) has said the proposals would “lead to a two-tier workforce” and recently called TMC an “embarrassment to the city”.

Experienced tutors at the college are already leaving as a result of the management’s misconduct and the college is currently facing around 25 employment tribunals.

According to MULE’s source in the College: “If these tutors are forced out, this will certainly impact upon the quality of teaching at the College. We must continue to provide a sustained quality of service in our communities.”

“This has truly dented our passion for teaching. We are wholly committed and passionate about providing an excellent standard of education and improving social mobility for some of the most under privileged students.”

Meanwhile, in a year which has seen allegations of harassment of staff, accusations of “institutional fraud” in the House of Commons, massive redundancies, and 300 students thrown off ESOL courses due to management incompetence, Tavernor has increased his pay to £193,970 from under £180,000 in 2008.

Salary rises have also been offered to nine other management staff despite instituting a pay freeze to over 3,000 prison education staff at the college and 300 job losses. The knock-on effect will see fewer rehabilitation opportunities for offenders and a serious impact on the quality of community teaching in Manchester.

General Secretary for UCU Sally Hunt has condemned the cuts to teaching staff, calling it a “hammer blow to learning throughout the country”. The union are currently balloting for strike action over the new contracts, which are due to come into force on 1 August.

Joe Beech

More: Education, News, Unions and workplace, Unions and workplace


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sam and Rob Myers, MULE. MULE said: New contracts strictly imposed on Manchester College staff as principal raises own pay  —   MULE […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention New contracts strictly imposed on Manchester College staff as principal raises own pay  —   MULE -- on June 9, 2010 at 11:44 am
  2. The Prime Minister earns about £200,000. I don’t know why people keep quoting the figure for purely the Prime Ministerial salary as there is also the constituency wage as well. Poor use of statistics?

    Comment by Tom on June 9, 2010 at 2:16 pm
  3. As prime minister his salary is £142,500 though, the rest is made up from his running his constituency.. Fair enough though, either way it’s a hefty sum for Tavernor to take home considering how many employees are getting laid off.

    Comment by joe on June 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm
  4. Tom, David Cameron earns both salaries as a result of multiple jobs.

    When someone “earns more than the Prime Minister” it is solely the PM role and hence salary that is referred to.

    If the reference was to “David Cameron”, then both (and possibly other) income would need to be considered in the amount.

    Comment by Sam on June 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm
  5. But is anyone ever solely a PM without having a constituency?

    Comment by Tom on June 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm
  6. Tom,

    The Prime Minister is the person who can command a majority support in the House of Commons.

    That person can be a member of the House of Lords (and, currently, could be appointed to Lords in order to become PM). That they are the leader of the largest party in the Commons relates to democracy, custom and practicality – taking the recent example of Lord Mandelson and BIS, there were/are significant issues of practicality and protocol in a member of the Lords being scruitinised by the Commons.

    For more, see this and related information:

    Comment by Sam on June 10, 2010 at 6:26 pm
  7. The letters state that if individuals do not sign by a given date then it is implied that we agree with the terms and conditions of the new contracts simply by our silence. Is this legal?

    Comment by michael on June 10, 2010 at 10:12 pm
  8. […] decision by Tavernor – who has recently awarded himself and nine other members of the College’s management significant salary increases – to cut off ties with the […]

    Pingback by Manchester College cuts off contact with UCU as staff vote for strike action  —   MULE on June 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm
  9. Under the new restructuring I have to move to another location and after 12 months of “protected salary” I will lose £3,417 a year – a lot of money if you earn £30,000 a year but when you only earn around £14,400, it is a massive cut. Additionally I will have to work more hours to earn less. I have not had a pay increase as it was not awarded this year or last. However, our greedy principal has paid thousands of what is morally “our money” to himself and his preferred staff. Disgraceful.

    Comment by Hardworker on June 13, 2010 at 8:01 pm
  10. […] was passed on 11 June. UCU, which represents teaching staff at TMC, says it is fighting against the strict imposition of new contracts, which employees say are “unnecessary and unworkable” and will worsen working […]

    Pingback by Manchester College staff strike back  —   MULE on June 30, 2010 at 5:03 pm
  11. […] Original article online at the Manchester Mule here […]

    Pingback by Manchester Mule Article : New contracts strictly imposed on Manchester College staff as principal raises own pay « Joe Beech on October 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

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