In support of all staff

May 14, 1999

I am writing to complain about your confusing and inaccurate reporting of the Unison Higher Education Conference ("Unison gears up for strikes", THES, May 7).

To clear up any doubts, an emergency motion calling for a ballot on industrial action was defeated by two-thirds of the branches on a card vote. Your first paragraph confused this motion with another that talked about future planning for pay claims.

Even the photograph, which purports to show delegates casting their votes on industrial action, is misleading: those voting in the picture were voting against strike action.

The article will leave our members very worried about the possibility "of all-out indefinite strike action" at a time when Unison is still consulting them over whether they wish to accept a 3.5 per cent pay offer. As a result, Unison has been forced into sending a circular to our branches to help clarify the situation.

All too often non-academic staff and their concerns are ignored, it is therefore galling that, when you do give Unison members some coverage, the resulting article should be so muddled.

Elaine Harrison

Unison, head of higher education

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