Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/439/5205
Student union leaders hide truth about lecturers' action
LECTURERS IN the NATFHE and AUT unions are engaged in a marking boycott at universities across the country. They are struggling for the wage increase that university vice-chancellors said was the main reason for charging students top-up fees.
Iain Dalton, Huddersfield Socialist Students
Instead lecturers have been offered a pitiful 3% increase whilst the already over-inflated vice-chancellors' salaries have increased by 21%.
The NUS nationally supports the lecturers' action, so why are many student unions not doing so? Some are even aiding strikebreaking action by the university vice-chancellors.
This is happening at Huddersfield University, where the president and executive officers have taken a unilateral stance against the strikes. On their website it seems as if the pay dispute is not happening and the lecturers are just taking action to upset students,.
There has been no consultation between the Student Union and the local unions.
The current executive is merely interested in securing good jobs with business and with the university. The previous president now works in university management. None of them care about the real issues.
One of the arguments they use is that the marking boycott is damaging students' education. But if the lecturers' unions had students' full support it would make the vice-chancellor's position untenable.
NATFHE and AUT have supported students in the struggles against fees. They deserve students' solidarity in this struggle. Low-paid lecturers are less likely to want to carry on with the ever-increasing workload and may look for jobs in other sectors. That is surely not in students' interests.
The lecturers have tried at all times to consult the students at Huddersfield University, unlike the students' union who failed to inform students about the strikes in March. It seems they are doing the vice-chancellor's bidding against both lecturers and students.
Socialist Students in Huddersfield is proud of our role of supporting the lecturers and exposing the student union leadership for their distortion of the truth.
We are campaigning for a fully funded higher education system, democratically run without the parasitic university vice-chancellors. Lecturers should get the wages they deserve.
Students have the right to a free and fully funded education, where higher education is not just a commodity to be bought.
l The university employers' latest offer is 3.5% a year for three years, far short of the claim for 23% over three years. NATFHE are considering calling a joint national demonstration and further industrial action.
In The Socialist 11 May 2006:
Socialist Party election analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news