Conference round-up

June 2, 2006

Natfhe delegates warned that the new University and College Union must continue to fight for the proper recognition of lecturers'

"teaching and learning" activities following Natfhe's merger this week with the Association of University Teachers, whose members are concentrated in research-intensive universities.

A motion from Natfhe's higher education committee said that the UCU "must support the professional development and trade union interests of all members", including pressure for "recognition and reward for teaching, in equal measure to research, in appointment, promotion and pay structures".

* An emergency motion attacking government moves to "pre-empt" a debate over possible replacements for the research assessment exercise was carried by Natfhe delegates.

The motion, from the union's higher education committee, said that the Government intended to impose a new system of funding university research based on metrics, such as measuring staff contribution to academic journals, but this failed to take account of "the need to fund potential rather than entrench past inequities".

* Union negotiations over the implementation of the national pay framework came in for criticism at the Natfhe conference, with delegates urging the University and College Union never to accept or recommend any national agreement that had to be implemented by local branches.

The motion, from Natfhe's North West region, said that the historic 2004 pay reforms - the National Framework Agreement - had to be negotiated locally, which "has significantly increased the risk that variations to our national conditions will arise either now or in the future".

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