Employers' offer is not fair game 3

April 14, 2006

The Association of University Teachers and Natfhe members have grown used to hearing how well they are paid from the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association, but how disappointing to read it recycled as independent comment by Susan Bassnett.

Our members will also be surprised to hear that academics care only about pay when they have been at the forefront of campaigning on all the issues Bassnett identifies.

When Sussex University proposed to scrap its chemistry department, it was AUT members who organised protests and won support.

Both unions campaigned to expose the connection between the UK's short-termist funding structures and the threat to jobs and entire subject areas.

We played a part in consigning the research assessment exercise to the dustbin of history. And our members fought alongside the National Union of Students against the Higher Education Act.

In every instance, senior managers and pro vice-chancellors have been conspicuous by their absence or far too often active on the other side.

The new union will continue to campaign on all these issues. But Bassnett should not be surprised to learn that winning a fair wage for staff will be top of our agenda.

Sally Hunt
AUT general secretary

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