TRADE Unionists from across the country descended on Halesowen on Saturday for a protest and march in support of the Halesowen Four.

The protest followed the rejection of sacked lecturer David Muritu’s appeal and recriminations about the reasons behind the firing of three other lecturers.

The Halesowen branch of the University and College Union were delighted with Saturday’s show of strength.

A union spokesman said: "The branch were elated to see such a surge of support from over 100 trades unionists and other supporters nationwide in the fight against this attack on workers rights and conditions within education.

“We were boosted by the show of support given to us today, not just by trades unionists, but also students, staff, community members and former senior managers.

“We are aware of attempts to intimidate us but will keep fighting."

The union were also furious at the college press release which attacked Mr Muritu’s record as a lecturer and laid the blame of the firings at poor maths results.

The union spokesman said: “David Muritu's appeal was turned down in an expected but disappointing show of unity from senior management.

“It is interesting the college statement focused on a weak attempt to attack David's career, there was no attempt to comment on or justify why students have been roomed together, why lecturers have been teaching more than one class at the same time, why cover for long term sickness has not been agreed or why teaching was withdrawn in the vital run up to exams.”

“The statement also selectively focused on AS results - not mentioning, for example, that David had 100 per cent pass rate with 50 per cent As and Bs for A2s last year.”

Rachel Mackinson, personnel manager for the college, blamed the sacking of Mr Muritu squarely on poor results.

She said: “The pass rates have been consistently and significantly below average college and national rates, which resulted in students not attaining grades which their potential deserved.

“It was for this reason alone that David Muritu was dismissed.”