Letter: Some choice facts (1)

November 9, 2001

Your editorial criticising the Association of University Teachers for "restricting choice" in the election of a new general secretary shows a total lack of understanding of trade union law and equal opportunities (Leading article, THES , November 2).

Trade union law states that a general secretary must be elected from the membership. But in the interests of fairness, the AUT executive took the decision not to restrict the competition to staff and members of the association.

Using the official candidate route is the only way this is possible. The official candidate is then eligible to stand in the national membership ballot. Invitations to apply for the post of general secretary were advertised widely among members and in the media.

The AUT is committed to equal opportunities. In the past few months, The THES has criticised the AUT for using the official candidate route and for allegedly thinking of dropping it.

Thankfully, the duty of the AUT is to serve its members rather than to respond to inconsistent newspaper suggestions. Ill-conceived editorials may discourage people from standing.

Natalie Fenton
President, AUT

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