Academics unite

August 6, 2004

Paul Mackney and Sally Hunt are right in thinking that elite academics need a union (Letters, July 30). The trouble is, it is not Natfhe, the Association of University Teachers or the offspring of any merger between them. Frankly, the issue of working-class students making it to higher education is not the main problem most academics face.

It is, rather, a calamitous loss of prestige together with emasculated salary and working conditions, all under the watch of the AUT.

What academics need is a union for academics exclusively, not a general union that encompasses everyone from the porters to the provost.

The unions that claim to speak for academics negotiate us on to the same pay scale as those who clean our labs and trumpet it as some sort of progress.

All professions require, and most have, appropriate representation. I would like to use these pages to call on any academics who are fed up with the complete lack of this to email me at d.mcalpine@

Let's start a union run by academics, for academics.

David McAlpine
University College London

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