Divided stand on job protection

July 28, 2000

National bargaining is not "close to collapse". On the contrary all higher education unions last month successfully negotiated an agreement on equal opportunities with the employers' association.

This month all the unions, except the AUT, endorsed a similar agreement aimed at improving life for fixed-term and casual staff. Those were the first all-union national agreements in ten years and the first to make substantial progress on conditions. We want employers to increase their support for national bargaining, but this is hardly evidence of its imminent collapse.

Natfhe did not "accuse the AUT of negotiating in bad faith". It respects the AUT's right to choose not to endorse the casualisation agreement.

In fact, all the unions met recently to take stock of national bargaining and to discuss pay. All agreed: that national bargaining should be supported and reinforced, not undermined; to begin planning a coordinated campaign on pay in the autumn; that the extra Pounds 50 million announced last week for pay means employers should reconsider their 3 per cent offer.

Tom Wilson

Head of universities, Natfhe

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