Disappointing deal 1

June 23, 2006

"University staff to vote overwhelmingly for deal". This is not as good a story as the one you reported ("Poll predicts close pay vote", June 16), but it is the real story. If my institution is anything to go by, then the outcome will be far from close. Most staff here are relieved that industrial action is over and will vote by a large majority to accept the deal.

Not that anyone deep down thinks the deal is a good one. But the bottom line is that staff are not prepared to come out in sufficient numbers and take the action necessary to send a clear message to employers and the Government that they will not stand for being used and abused.

As one of your correspondents says (Letters, June 9), the outcome of this episode is that "low pay is now well and truly confirmed". That outcome is not due to any collapse or betrayal by the union leaders, but due to the too timid response of many of its members. The problem with the union action was that there was not enough of it. In the end, staff have no one to blame for their poor pay but themselves, their own pusillanimity and a lack of belief in their own value.

Howard Moss

University of Wales Swansea

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