Hive-off row

Executives from a private firm that is set to take over English language training for international students at Newcastle University faced staff protests when they arrived for a meeting at the university this week. Into University Partnerships Ltd is close to finalising arrangements to finance and jointly run a new English language centre at Newcastle, after successfully closing similar deals at the University of East Anglia and Exeter University. Academic union leaders have declared a dispute with Newcastle and called for a national campaign opposing Into's activities, which include proposals to privatise English language training at six other institutions, including Oxford Brookes University. Into and Newcastle claim that the terms and conditions of employment of the 25 academics and ten academic-related English language staff at Newcastle will be protected when they transfer to the private company. But Jenny Toomey, Newcastle University and College Union branch secretary, said: 'Their terms and conditions will be protected for 12 months. After that they will have no protection from possible redundancy.'

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