Divided stand on job protection

July 28, 2000

It is sad, if not surprising, that Natfhe has decided to break ranks with the Association of University Teachers and sign the employers' code of practice that legitimises the growth of casualised employment ("AUT stalls national bargaining", THES, July 21).

This leaves the AUT alone in campaigning for decent employment rights for academic and related staff.

Natfhe has also consistently joined employers in resisting a pay review body.

For the record, neither I nor the AUT has advocated "local pay negotiations", but we have highlighted that national bargaining has ceased to function and that pay review is the only way to ensure the survival of a national system of higher education required to pay competitive, nationally determined salaries.

To perpetuate the myth that national bargaining is working, Natfhe seems prepared to inflict enormous damage on the thousands of academic and related staff - mostly represented by the AUT - who are employed on fixed-term contracts. In doing so, it is driving a final nail into the coffin of national bargaining. In rejecting the rational alternative of pay review, it is making a descent into a decentralised free-for-all inevitable.

President

Association of University Teachers

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