UNION chiefs have won a legal fight for recognition at a city college which smoothes the way for foreign students to take university degrees.
Since 2007 Liverpool International College in Mulberry Street has provided courses that prepare international students from countries as diverse as Kuwait to Ukraine for entry to the University of Liverpool.
Run by Kaplan International Colleges as part of a joint education partnership with the university, students pay between £10,950 for two terms to £18,550 for five terms with those successfully passing the courses guaranteed a place at the University of Liverpool.
And The Liverpool Post can reveal it must now recognise tutors’ union rights and allow them to bargain collectively after the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) launched a successful legal fight.
Amid concerns ranging from “over zealous management”, a perceived lack of consultation, and job security among the 60 full time and sessional staff the ATL represent, officials asked colleges bosses to enter into a “voluntary recognition agreement” at the start of the year.
But furious ATL officials were knocked back by bosses who the union claim tersely stated the college “does not recognise unions”.
However, determined regional ATL officials took the rare step of going to independent body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to apply for a statutory union recognition declaration.
The CAC only deals with around 50 statutory recognition claims from all sectors each year.
And after hearing from both sides, and allowing a subsequent postal ballot from eligible staff, the CAC concluded the college must now recognise the union and allow it to conduct “collective bargaining” on behalf of tutors and coordinators.
Peter Duff, a Merseyside ATL official, said: “We are tremendously pleased to secure this legal right for our members and we now look forward to working with the management of the college.”
A Liverpool International College spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that the ballot for collective recognition among tutors and coordinators at Liverpool International College went in favour and we are in the process of discussions with the ATL to agree the method of collective bargaining.
“Like all education institutions in the UK supporting international students, we have had a challenging year with a significant number of regulatory changes.
“Our current focus is to reach agreement with the ATL and to maintain our strong focus on supporting our students to grow and develop Liverpool International College.
“We have been working directly with staff over the past few months to expand our communication channels across the college and will continue to do this going forward in addition to working with the ATL for tutors and coordinators.”