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March 27, 2002

FE unions unite in call for pay parity
Six further education lecturers’ unions have joined forces to demand pay parity with schoolteachers. The unions, including Natfhe, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the Association of College Managers, are demanding a “substantial” pay rise, a national pay scale, and a minimum starting salary of £11,000 and a London weighting allowance of £4,000 for all support staff.

Ulster decommisioning 'irresistible', says report
Sinn Fein’s electoral success in Ireland is likely to create irresistible pressure for the party to move further down the road of decommissioning arms, according to a report for Ulster University’s INCORE conflict resolution project. But the Loyalists’ weak political presence gives them no incentive to relinquish weaponry. 

Anti-creationists address concerns to Blair
Forty-three philosophers and scientists have sent a letter to prime minister Tony Blair in protest at the teaching of creationism at the state-funded Emmanuel College in Gateshead. Among the signatories are Roger Penrose, John Maynard Smith, David Papineau, Janet Radcliffe Richards, Michael Atiyah, Richard Dawkins and Colin Blakemore. The protest has been organised by the British Humanist Association.

£10m underspend for NI student loans
The department for the two universities and further education colleges in Northern Ireland has handed back almost £12 million to the central exchequer, mostly due to reluctance over student loans. The low loans take-up accounted for £10.6 million, the remainder savings from the New Deal programme aimed at over-50s. 

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