Mistrust and misuse 1

July 28, 2006

It was with some dismay that I read Geoffrey Copland's article about the future of industrial relations (Opinion, July 21). The national bargaining arrangements are in place to ensure that staff in our universities are fairly paid.

Sadly, we do not trust vice-chancellors negotiating locally to offer fair deals. Many have poor records when it comes to the pay and conditions of their staff and to ensuring equality of treatment for all.

National bargaining, for all its faults, is the best protection university staff have against those institutions that see staff as just another resource to be cut and pruned according to local whim.

The current bargaining arrangements do need to be reformed. Too often in the recent dispute it was not clear on whose behalf the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association was negotiating, or what mandate it possessed.

But we need to improve our national bargaining structures, not ditch them as Copland and others suggest, and the University and College Union is committed to working to move the process forward.

Sally Hunt
UCU joint general secretary

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