Letter: Real ails campaign

August 17, 2001

Despite the fact that no decision on the election of a new general secretary of the Association of University Teachers will be taken until an executive meeting in September, your coverage suggests that the theme for the contest has already been decided ("AUT could rule out outsiders for post", THES , August 10).

The selection process will follow that of previous elections and it is mischievous to suggest there is an alternative agenda.

We approach the choice for a successor to David Triesman in great strength. There may well be a healthy debate among members and concerned individuals about the future of the union, and its relationship with other organisations, but there are plenty of other issues to deal with.

During recent months we have signed a new pay deal and set in motion new machinery for future negotiations. We have forced government to take notice of our concerns about the epidemic of bureaucracy and red tape striking at the heart of our sector. We will be campaigning vigorously against proposals for performance-related pay. We will also be forcing Universities UK to recognise and set in place mechanisms for dealing with the gender pay gap.

While it may be attractive to report and comment on the froth and innuendo of an election campaign, the union and its staff will remain devoted to the real issues facing the academic community.

Natalie Fenton
President-elect AUT

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