Shrewsbury Colleges Group has come in for heavy criticism from the National Education Union, but has hit back by refuting its claims and insisting the announcement was deliberately timed to coincide with an Ofsted inspection.
A statement from the union said: “NEU believes that the college is exhibiting institutional bullying from the top down.
"There is a tolerance for inappropriate behaviour along with cronyism that makes the environment toxic for some staff members.
"There is a culture of fear where staff feel that concerns raised will be dismissed as vexatious or as ‘a different perception of the facts’ and there may be reprisals.”
The union claims management have used demeaning nicknames for staff, raised concerns about a “cavalier attitude” to its response during the Covid-19 pandemic and said a union rep is being victimised by the college’s disciplinary processes.
The college, however, does not accept the union’s claims, and called into question the timing of the statement.
Ofsted inspectors were due to visit the college on Tuesday this week.
In a letter to staff, Principal James Staniforth said that the union threatened to release the statement unless the college gave in to demands including abandoning an investigation following a serious allegation against a staff member and that it adopts a management code designed by the union.
Defending the allegation of a “cavalier” response to the pandemic, Mr Staniforth wrote: “This is simply not the case.
"The safety of staff and students is extremely important, and actions reflect this.
"There have been huge changes here designed to protect the health of staff and students.”