Members of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union at the University of Abertay Dundee have joined the Association of University Teachers after three months of debate.
The AUT has now set up a local association with 170 members, which will hold its inaugural meeting after Easter. Just before Christmas, 115 of the 173 MSF members at Abertay voted by 69 per cent to join the AUT, with 31 per cent voting to join the University Lecturers' Association of the Educational Institute of Scotland. There are around 300 academic staff in the university.
The AUT is taking pains to stress that it is not poaching members from another union. Assistant general secretary David Bleiman said legislation had essentially outlawed the previous Bridlington rules whereby unions could refuse applications from outside their existing bargaining areas.
The AUT was under a legal obligation to admit university lecturers who applied to join it. No comment was available from the MSF.
The AUT has not yet asked the university management for recognition, and the MSF remains the recognised union for both academic and technical staff.
The MSF's academic membership is unusual among Scotland's former central institutions, where the key union is the Educational Institute of Scotland. When the staff move was initially revealed, the EIS said it opposed the idea of the AUT moving into its sphere of influence, given the separate pay bargaining in the old and new universities sectors.