Unions of unions

February 13, 1998

FORMER members and officers of the Association of University and College Lecturers have far more common cause with the Association of University Teachers than was ever likely with Natfhe. Paul Mackney's derogatory references (THES, February 6) to this "tiny organisation" belie the fact that AUCL survived and grew over 25 years despite the cynical attempts of Natfhe to sideline and repress it at every opportunity.

Last September AUCL, as a small, thriving and solvent union, dedicated to advancing its members' interests in higher education, particularly in pursuit of an independent pay review body, took some 3,000- plus academic and related staff from the 1992 universities and colleges into the Association of University Teachers.

Natfhe remains tied to the totem of free collective bargaining, which has caused a catastrophic decline in salaries. Dearing showed that over 60 per cent of academic staff in the 1992 institutions support a pay review body and found remarkable the disparity of views between staff and "the union professing to represent them".

Just whose views does Natfhe represent?

Neil Macfarlane, Former chair AUCL, vice president AUT

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