Unison wary over lectureship

May 5, 1995

News International is funding a lectureship at Birkbeck College, London. The post, in the college's department of management and business studies, was advertised in March. It will cost Pounds 198,000 over five years, writes Claire Sanders.

The decision by Birkbeck College, London, to establish a News International lectureship in management has, however, prompted protests from Unison, one of the unions representing staff at the college. Branch secretary Solomon Hughes has written to Lady Blackstone, master of the college, asking for the proposal to be shelved.

Mr Hughes said: "Birkbeck was founded as a college for working people, so we do not think it is right to take money from the company that sacked trade unionists at Wapping."

He added that the union saw this as an "important protest" and would be seeking support in the wider labour movement.

Baroness Blackstone said that although Unison has reservations about the post, reservations have not been expressed from any other source in the college. She said: "This appointment will be made as a result of an open advertisement and will contribute to the mainstream teaching and research of the department, benefitting staff and students alike."

She added that the college as a whole "greatly welcomes this generous donation from News International".

The local branch of the Association of Union Teachers has not yet discussed the issue at a branch meeting and so declined to comment.

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