Natfhe members demand sweeping review

May 23, 1997

DELEGATES at this week's Natfhe conference will be asked to approve a fundamental review of the union's organisation amid leadership problems, falling membership and growing industrial disputes.

Members attending the conference in Scarborough will be asked to approve a motion from Natfhe's West Midlands region which calls for a "fundamental review" of union organisation to include full consultation with the regions and branches. It calls for a review forum and for conclusions to be available by December this year.

The growing number of disputes, in opposition to redundancies and other threats to staff, have prompted a number of other motions to the conference.

One calls on the union to support branches and members if they are forced into taking unlawful action to defend members.

It also asks the new Labour government to repeal Conservative anti-trade union laws.

Boosting the union's strike fund by Pounds 250,000 is advocated.

There is condemnation of senior managers in colleges and universities who "weep crocodile tears over redundancies while awarding themselves colossal pay rises".

Colleges using casual staff supplied by agencies such as Education Lecturing Services are specifically censured.

A motion calls on the union to give full support to branches which decide to resist the introduction of such agency staff (Leader, page 11), to set up a national hotline where casualisation problems can be reported and for the leadership to explore ways of improving the employment rights of casual agency staff through the European courts.

There is a call to set up an independent pay commission to address pay differentials between the old and new university sectors.

As well, there will be criticism of the two-year pay deal agreed for higher education lecturers by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

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