Losing the plot on pay 1

October 21, 2005

Sally Hunt's defence of the new pay deal for academics (Letters, October 14) simply underlines how out of touch the leaderships of the Association of University Teachers and lecturers' union Natfhe are with their members.

The demoralisation felt by many union members is due to the acquiescence of the national leaderships to successive government-inspired changes in higher education. While individual members receive excellent support and advice from local union officials, the national leaderships'

support for the new pay deal, as well as job evaluation, underlines their incoherent and naive views.

These proposals will reinforce individualisation and undermine the principle of collective bargaining. Why are union leaders not talking about the desperate deterioration in their members' conditions of service? Why don't they focus on the increased workloads of academics and what this means in terms of undermining academic contracts? Focusing on these issues, and developing a statutory, national workload management scheme, is more likely to highlight the culture of overwork and low pay than any job evaluation scheme.

To face up to these issues would mean the leadership would have to get out of the cosy bed they appear to be increasingly sharing with management and suggest some real strategies for action.

Joe Sim

Liverpool John Moores University

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