Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Education Is Not For Sale
May 23rd has seen a series of events organised by NATFHE and AUT as part of the dispute with the employers over our pay claim. After a period of 'phoney war' and a burst of rival PR conflicts we seem to have reached a bit of a stalemate, but there are some victories - the management at Northumbria University has temporarily backed off from deducting 100% off salaries for not marking assignments, which will probably pt others attempting the same. The legal arguments about whether we can have our pay docked without specific disciplinary procedures will be a minefield. The mood of lecturers seems to be one of defianceIn Leeds the AUT and NATFHE had a joint and quite high-spirited rally this lunchtime, although the t-shirts with the slogan 'Make My Day, Dock My Pay' seemed a bit risky! At Leeds Metropolitan University there is still a bit of a phoney war war atmosphere, but things have already hotted up at Leeds University after their vice-chancellor threatened to dock 30% off wages for not marking assessed work.
This is in the background as NATFHE and the AUT merge into the new UCU for lecturers in the whole of higher and furhter education. To mark this the Rank and File left is organising a conference at London Metropolitan University to launch a left current in the new union. Speakers (invited, that is) include Stephen Rose, Tony Benn, Hilary Wainwright, Sheila Rowbotham, Alex Callinicos and many others. The line-up of workshops is wide-ranging and impressive, connecting political, educational and trade union issues in an imaginative manner. It looks good and should be of interest to anyone in NATFHE or the AUT. There's more information at the web-site, www.uculeft.org, so I hope to see people there.