United front on salaries holds

October 15, 1999

Lecturers' unions and employers met this week to hammer out a joint submission to the government's comprehensive spending review, despite being at loggerheads over pay.

Both sides have agreed to push ahead with a joint submission and lobbying on some of the Bett recommendations on pay and conditions to improve their chances of a sympathetic government ear.

But the Association of University Teachers will continue boycotting Quality Assurance Agency subject assessments, research assessment exercise submissions and Ofsted inspections and appraisal until agreement is reached on this year's pay claim.

The union is due to meet the Universities and Colleges Employers Association next Friday to discuss mechanisms for addressing the problems of casualisation and sex discrimination.

Malcolm Keight, AUT assistant general secretary, said: "If we get very soon a substantial movement on casualisation, with a commitment to reduce the number of fixed-term contracts to 50 per cent and rapid action on sex discrimination, we may be able to suspend the action."

But the decision is likely to be left to a special council meeting called for December 15.

Meanwhile, university and college lecturers' union Natfhe met with branch members over the weekend to discuss pay and will hold a meeting of its negotiating committee at the end of next week to decide on action.

The union had considered conducting a formal ballot this month with action possible in November, but it is now likely to wait until its higher education sector conference in December.

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