Flaming protest

May 28, 1999

It is good to see the Association of University Teachers looking for novel forms of protest about pay, such as refusing to answer emails for a day ("Bosses condemn strike call", THES, May 14).

The problem is that, just like strike action, most of the ideas put forward would disrupt the daily lives of those carrying out the protest without having any noticeable effect on those who are its target.

The work done by academics does not go away. If you stop doing it, it just accumulates, so you are twice as busy the next day. We need to be more imaginative. Suppose everyone who wanted to register their protest were, on the same day, to "send" an email, a fax, a letter and make a phone call to their MP, to David Blunkett, to Tony Blair and to any other official who seemed worth lobbying. Worth a thought?

Dorothy Bishop

Wellcome principal research fellow, Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford

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