An email in time

March 27, 1998

NEW technology shook trade unionism to its foundations this week as employers unveiled next year's higher education pay offer by email. Details of the offer were sent to vice-chancellors by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association last Thursday. Unfortunately it forgot to tell the unions.

AUT officials fielded calls from members complaining about an offer they knew nothing about. One official said: "It was either a blunder by UCEA or a deliberate attempt to undermine the democratic negotiating procedure." UCEA chief executive Peter Humphries denied bypassing unions but said one or two universities broke the 4pm embargo. Surely the combination of a pay offer and an industry in which everyone has email ought to guarantee confidentiality?

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