Facts over fears

April 30, 2004

Natfhe's reaction to changes to the academic contract at London Metropolitan University ("London Met staff threaten boycott over jobs", April 23) ignores three facts. First, we are legally required to harmonise the contracts of comparable staff, ensuring equal pay for equal work, within a "reasonable" time of the merger between London Guildhall and North London universities. Second, far from rejecting consultation on the issue, we have been discussing it with Natfhe for nearly two years. Third, the contract that the board of governors has chosen is the one negotiated with Natfhe for North London and that was agreed, by the union's national officers, to be consistent with the national contract for academic staff; it has been in operation for some years, at North London and subsequently on the North campus of London Met, without any of the dire consequences that Natfhe predicts.

Rather than complaining about process, Natfhe branch officers would be better employed explaining to their members the details of the contract their national officers have accepted and thereby allaying any fears that it will lead to unreasonable management of academic staff.

Roderick Floud
London Metropolitan University

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