Beyond the headlines

November 19, 2009

Michael MacNeil's description of Keith Burnett "attacking the unions in the press" (Letters, 12 November) is unfair and short-sighted, with eyes only for the article's headline ("Hanging tough", 29 October). Those who read the piece in its entirety will have noted that the only so-called "provocative comments" came in the form of the headline and introductory line, not Burnett's interview.

Furthermore, the Universities and Colleges Employers Association has always valued working with all the unions, and has a good track record of delivering pay improvements since 2001. Each organisation has different constituencies and perspectives, but we always strive to find common ground.

Pay talks this year have been testing given the difficult economic environment, but employers are offering to work jointly on a range of issues (many of which were raised by the unions themselves) through joint working groups covering equalities issues, framework implementation and financial sustainability.

Andy Fryer, Communications manager, Ucea.

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