A local difficulty 2

October 1, 2004

Which planet is Peter Coles, Nottingham University's professor of astrophysics, living on? He claims that the Association of University Teachers' greylisting of his institution is a deliberate attempt "to harm staff and students" because the AUT is seeking to distract attention from the better deal he says staff at Nottingham are being offered without the union's involvement.

The idea that the union has somehow poked its nose in because staff are being offered too good a deal is eccentric. What kind of fools would those members be not to negotiate with a university offering largesse, and why would they stand by and support their union while it deliberately did them harm?

His "riddle" has a simple answer. Nottingham management is seeking to impose its will on its employees regardless of the national agreement entered into, and the employees are using their trade union to redress their justifiable grievance about this.

Howard Moss
University of Wales Swansea

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