Bribed and bullied, but by whom? 1

September 24, 2004

For many months I have been puzzled by the attitude of the Association of University Teachers to Nottingham University's new pay system for academic-related staff. Unlike the other campus unions, the AUT refused to participate in designing the scheme. The other unions accepted the resulting deal. Moreover, the AUT represents only a small fraction of academic-related staff at Nottingham. So why make all the fuss?

I believe I have the answer to this riddle. Nottingham staff now have a fairer and more transparent pay structure than anything the AUT has been involved in negotiating. The union is terrified that the academic community at large will realise that it is the AUT's absence from negotiations that resulted in such a positive outcome for the university.

It decided to pursue a vendetta against staff and students to draw attention from this, and to prevent the extension of the new system to academic staff who stand to benefit from the AUT's absence from negotiations, just as academic-related staff did.

The AUT's campaign is explicitly intended to harm staff and students of this university. As such, it is a direct attack on the higher education community as a whole. I urge academics everywhere to show solidarity with the staff and students of Nottingham by boycotting the AUT.

Peter Coles
Professor of astrophysics
Nottingham University

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