Local financial mismanagement and government underfunding are gradually turning the screw on staff in higher education. If the vice tightens any more, there will undoubtedly be an explosion.
At this year's Unison conference, delegates blasted employers and demanded full implementation of the Bett report from which the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association has walked away. Employers have apparently responded to 10 per cent pay claims from unions by asking institutions to impose a 3 per cent pay settlement, despite such an offer already having been rejected.
With employers looking more like the National Coal Board of 1984-85, unions are being forced to take on the role of the National Union of Miners. Cuts and pay freezes at local and national levels could lead to an unlikely remake of that time and the fault for such a conflict has already been attributed.
Jake Rollin Unison branch secretary London Guildhall University