Fears of a merger

February 27, 1998

I WAS elected general secretary of the lecturers' union Natfhe by a 60:40 vote on a platform of one union for all lecturers, researchers and academic-related staff. Such a union would be able to attract into membership some of the 100,000 unorganised further and higher education academic staff.

On taking up the post, I proposed that Natfhe and the Association of University Teachers should merge. I offered to give the general secretary of the AUT a clear run for the job in a new union, which would have two politically and financially independent wings.

That historic opportunity remains. But if the AUT does not wish to merge, then obviously Natfhe will explore other ways of securing organisational unity in universities. I have been astonished by the vituperative letters in response to this proposal. If people do not want a merger, all they have to do is to say no. Letters referring to a previous general secretary and past failures on agreement are not the point. There is a Natfhe general secretary committed to modernising, reorganising staff and ensuring financial stability and autonomy for different wings.

Even more significantly, there is a new government. If there are to be 500,000 new students by 2000, this can only be achieved by close partnerships between further and higher education. Given that Natfhe organises some 18,000 lecturers in new universities and higher education colleges and 46,000 in further and adult education, it would seem inopportune to disunite our union. Natfhe will be exploring with the AUT other ways by which members can combine to secure their common interests. We are agreed on a Council of Post-School unions. We need to build a partnership of mutual respect.

Paul Mackney. Natfhe general secretary

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns