London strike to 'hurt' freshers

September 19, 2003

The Association of University Teachers will take its members out on strike during student registration for the first time ever next week, writes Phil Baty.

In the first step of its agreed policy to "hurt students" in the campaign for better pay and conditions, AUT members in 12 universities across London have voted in favour of a two-day strike in support of their campaign for an improved cost-of-living allowance for workers in the capital.

Old universities in London have refused to increase the £2,000 allowance for the past 11 years, despite house prices and travel expenses in the city rocketing.

But there were signs this week that individual universities may be ready to talk. King's College London averted a strike during registration by offering a £100 one-off payment followed by a 4 per cent increase.

The Institute of Education also made an offer, which will be subject to a ballot.

"King's College and the Institute of Education have acted in a constructive way to avoid the prospect of damaging strike action during the registration period," said AUT general secretary Sally Hunt.

But she added that the offers fell way short of the AUT's demand for an allowance of £4,000.

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