PROTESTORS demonstrated outside York College in support of a union branch chair embroiled in controversy.

David McNorton, secretary of the college branch of the University and College Union (UCU), claimed that for over a year, its chair John Westmoreland had been the victim of a concerted campaign of complaints and grievances from York College management and now faced the possible prospect of disciplinary action.

He claimed such actions were in direct response to work Mr Westmoreland had carried out in defence of his members, who had themselves raised concerns about the college's management style. The union had entered into official dispute and negotiations had yielded no solution, and a demonstration was held yesterday lunchtime.

A college spokeswoman said it respected the right of any individual to raise a complaint or grievance and took such matters very seriously, and it would never seek to victimise anyone for carrying out legitimate union activities.

"We are, therefore, disappointed that the branch has decided to take this course of action," she said, adding that the college had been keen to maintain dialogue with all concerned.