Don't squeal if strikers lose pay 3

March 10, 2006

Your suggestion (Leader, March 3) of a major split between the Association of University Teachers and lecturers' union Natfhe on what assessment sanctions should be imposed in our pay dispute is a little disingenuous.

The AUT is doing what it did in its last dispute and doing what its members feel is most effective. Natfhe is doing what it has done in the past and what it has found most effective. Neither union has sought to change the other's tactics on this. Both of us have the same aim - to bring home to the employers the determination of our members to gain a substantial pay rise.

The unions are agreed on the pay rise sought. We want 23 per cent over three years. We want at least the same as vice-chancellors awarded themselves over the past three years when the sector was less well-funded.

We are both astonished at the hypocrisy of vice-chancellors. Both unions received identical support in the members' ballot. Both unions will settle at the same time for the same amount. The sooner employers put a substantial offer on the table to start the negotiations, the least damage will be done to universities, students and our members' pockets.

Roger Kline Head of universities, Natfhe

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