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Hull College Group staff calls for chief to resign

Michelle Swithenbank' Image copyright Hull College Group
Image caption CEO Michelle Swithenbank's position is "untenable after a failure to defend jobs at the college", a union says

Hull College staff have called for the immediate resignation of its chief executive after they backed a vote of no confidence in her.

A union said Michelle Swithenbank's position was "untenable after a failure to defend jobs at the college".

On Wednesday, University and College Union (UCU) members working at the college voted for strike action over plans to cut 231 posts.

The college has begun a restructuring plan to deal with a £10m deficit.

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UCU said the no confidence vote came after allegations of "attempted bullying and bribery" by the management team to deter staff "not to attend a protest against the running of the college".

Image caption Staff and students in Hull joined a protest on Wednesday over Hull College's plans to axe 231 jobs

Julie Kelley, UCU regional official, said: "Staff have made it quite clear that they have no confidence in Michelle Swithenbank's leadership and want her to resign immediately.

"To go from bullying to bribery in less than 24 hours highlights the chaotic shambles at the heart of Hull College leadership.

"Staff need someone running the college who will talk it up and publicly defend its staff and students.

"The college should scrap damaging plans to cut jobs and courses, and work with us to develop a more positive approach which meets the needs of local people."

Image caption Hull College has three main centres in Hull, Goole and Harrogate

Hull College Group, which runs colleges in Hull, Goole and Harrogate, said it was yet to receive the confidence vote from the union.

In a statement, it said joining a protest "organised by an organisation which is not affiliated with the current negotiations" could lead to "a breach of contract".

"A communication was sent to staff to give clear advice on their own responsibility and to make an informed decision to participate," it added.

The union said it expected to announce the dates of industrial action "in the next few days".

Last year, the college's financial management was criticised in a report by the Further Education Commissioner, which said it had "significant failures" and its leadership and governance needed to improve.

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