Readers' reactions

January 19, 2001

Last week in The THES... David Triesman argued that the University and College Employers Association is moribund.

The UCEA certainly has problems, and the higher education unions would strongly criticise many of its actions - but it is far from collapse. Indeed, it has recently extended its remit to include Scotland and is leading the employers' side in negotiations aimed at settling the current higher education dispute.

Natfhe and other unions frequently and fervently wish UCEA were different. Very likely, that wish is fervently reciprocated. That does not mean either side should assassinate the messenger. A national higher education employers' body is as essential as national trade unions.

Few employers want a free-for-all - neither do unions - or to risk the cost of going it alone. The problem is finding a balance between institutional and national, but you need national bargaining to work that out.

Tom Wilson
Head of universities

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