Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2006

AUT conference

Lecturers continue the fight for decent pay

FROM 10-12 May, higher education union AUT held its last annual council (conference) before its merger with NATFHE to form the University and College Union, UCU.

Thomas House

Both existing unions are in dispute over pay in higher education, against the employers, UCEA, after pay increases promised from the money generated by 'top-up' fees failed to materialise.

On the Monday before the conference, the unions had correctly turned down a 'final' offer from UCEA. This rejection was backed unanimously by council, which gave an overwhelming mandate to continue the current boycott of student assessment.

Motions were passed that called to extend this to other forms of action short of a strike, such as management boycotts. A motion calling for a further one-day strike and national demonstration was referred to the executive, who only committed to sympathetic consideration of 'national demonstrative action'.

Good points were made in the debate about the timing and effectiveness of strike action and the difficulties of the current boycott, which 'goes against all our instincts' as educators and does hurt students.

There was a further suggestion that the money that would be lost through a one-day strike would be better levied from members to support staff facing pay cuts for taking part in the assessment boycott.

These are tactical issues but what cannot be denied is the urgency of taking some form of united action that can help ease the isolation of those taking part in the boycott. As a minimum, a national demonstration should be organised with AUT, NATFHE, the NUS and teachers' unions.

UCEA and behind them the New Labour government, are 100% to blame for any problems faced by students as a result of the assessment boycott. While council reaffirmed its opposition to tuition fees in a separate motion, it was noted that the new income from fees presented a 'once in a generation' opportunity to win a significant pay increase. University workers have seen their salaries decline from close to those of doctors to salaries below those of school teachers, who are underpaid themselves.

Attacks on higher education mirror those throughout the public sector. Unity between public-sector unions and the wider labour movement will be needed to force the government to back down.

There were discussions of wider issues, in particular the adoption of a policy on international boycotts following last year's proposed boycott of Israel. While some conservative elements in the union argued that we should not campaign on anything other than the interests of education workers, this was defeated. Positive examples of international solidarity came from motions condemning the occupation of Iraq and in solidarity with the Venezuelan people against US interference.

There was also a resounding call for disciplinary action against racist, sexist and homophobic lecturer Frank Ellis of Leeds University.

Socialist Party members distributed a conference bulletin and held a meeting in support of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party.

We intend to build on this to establish a base in the new union, where we will argue for a fighting strategy but also that the cuts, closures and privatisation seen in universities and colleges are an inevitable consequence of the capitalist system. Only the socialist transformation of society can provide education for all at the same time as decent pay and conditions for those who provide it.

Build students' support

KAT FLETCHER, president of the National Union of Students described the AUT's decision to continue to refuse to set exams as "extremely concerning".

She led an NUS delegation to the AUT conference, where the boycott was endorsed but added after the decision was reached: "NUS will continue to make the AUT aware of the damaging consequences of this policy and the disproportionate impact this aspect of the boycott is having on students."

NUS accept that the employers' refusal to negotiate for weeks is "one of the reasons students are suffering now". They say they are putting pressure on the employers to begin new negotiations. But it is clear that, in the face of such intransigent employers, it is in all students' interests to give full support to lecturers in dispute - as Socialist Students are doing around the country.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 18 May 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Blair's market madness wrecking the NHS

Save jobs and services

Global Warming

Environment: not safe in their hands

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Join the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

International socialist news and analysis

The Venezuelan president's 'vision of socialism'

Building on our election successes

Solidarity with Venezuelan workers

Female factory workers in Russia start hunger strike

Ailing German capitalism slashes workers' wages and conditions

Germany: WASG rebels suspended

Massive European Social Forum rally in Athens

Socialist Students

How students and staff saved Chemistry at Sussex


Pensions 'crisis' - working class will pay the price

Rail unions battle over pensions

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Postal workers prepare for action

Privatisation fails workers and customers

Fighting strategy needed to save jobs

Northumbria lecturers forced to strike

Lecturers continue the fight for decent pay

A matter of life and death


Home   |   The Socialist 18 May 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleBrighton Uni lecturers strike against job cuts

triangleManchester lecturers walk out

triangleUniversity of Leeds workers walk out

triangleWelsh college strike against crippling workload

triangleSocialist Students: growing, brimming with confidence


triangleBrighton victory

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

triangleLiverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College


triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation


triangleTeachers strike in Sheffield


triangleLively student demonstration for free education could have been much bigger

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice