Derby pay boycott

April 11, 1997

THE University of Derby faced a virtual siege this week as the Association of University Teachers asked its members to support an academic boycott by fellow union Natfhe.

Natfhe initiated its boycott after Derby imposed a 2.2 per cent increase for lecturers in 1996/97 and promised to review the 1997/98 award. The unions settled with the Universities and Colleges Employers Association for a two-year 5.8 per cent increase.

Roger Waterhouse, Derby's vice chancellor, had said that the institution could not afford that level of increase. Natfhe then instructed members to refuse to apply for, or accept, academic posts at the University of Derby. Members were also told to refuse appointments as external examiners, and not to initiate or become involved in collaborative research arrangements involving the university. They were also discouraged from attending or organising conferences on the campus.

The AUT has shown solidarity because it fears that Derby could set a precedent and that other insitutions could stand aside from national pay agreements. The union has asked its members to consider whether they can legally withdraw from existing contracts, mainly as external examiners.

* Natfhe members plan to hold a one-day strike at Middlesex University on Tuesday over threats to axe design courses and 22 jobs. Union spokesmen say that it would be "amazingly irrational" to close down courses in 3-D design which have a national reputation. University managers have as yet made no final decisions regarding the courses.

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