Laurie Taylor Column

March 17, 2006

From: The Office of the President (formerly Vice-Chancellor)

To: All members of academic staff

Subject: Industrial action

As you will no doubt recall, I wrote last week to point out that this university did not recognise the concept of "short-of-a-strike" and would therefore regard all disruptive action by individual academics as a failure to fulfil one or other aspect of their job description.

I regret to say that a significant number of staff members chose to disregard that warning and are therefore now technically in breach of contract and liable to one or other form of severe action by this university in the relatively near future, if you know what I mean.

I hardly need to reiterate that this university regards industrial action of any sort as an entirely inappropriate way for members of higher education institutions to advance their pay claim.

This is particularly the case when it is accompanied (as it was last Tuesday) by all that vulgar banner waving and repetitive chanting outside the admin block where the bursar and myself were simply trying to have a decent lunch before returning to our onerous duties.

Neither is there any evidence that previous industrial action within the university sector has led to an actual advancement of staff salary claims.

Indeed, those who believe that industrial action is the best method of achieving higher pay might consider a counter example that lies nearer to home.

Is it merely a coincidence that my own refusal to participate in militant action has allowed my own salary to rise by just over 25 per cent in the past three years even though there's not a jot of evidence to suggest that I've done anything whatsoever to deserve it? I think not.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

The President (signed in his absence by Mrs Dilworth)

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