Inflexible threat

November 28, 2003

Jocelyn Prudence seems to have abandoned her claim that the Association of University Teachers turned down a pay offer of 20 per cent (Letters, THES , November 14). She proceeds, however, to spin another story.

The truth is that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association has been intransigent since the AUT rejected its diktat in July.

This is demonstrated by: 

* The lack of movement on the two-year real-terms pay freeze (3.44 per cent this year and 3 per cent next)

* Inappropriate job evaluation, with the threat that up to 20 per cent of jobs will be downgraded ("Porter may earn more than a don", THES , November 21)

* A continued insistence on breaking the academic-related link

* Lower starting salaries, more and longer payscales, smaller increments, reduced opportunities for progres-sion and more discretionary pay, which will lead to there being more scope for discrimination and inequality

* Salary protection being limited to four years, after which staff will face cuts to their pay (and to their pensions).

The status quo may not be an option - but the AUT is not going to settle for something worse.

The UCEA has refused to negotiate seriously. That is what poses the threat to national bargaining.

Alan Carr
Former president
Association of University Teachers

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