Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/578/7243
Fight to save higher education
The University and College Union, UCU, is currently balloting its members in higher education on pay and job security. This follows a sub-inflation pay offer from employers' organisation UCEA and widespread threats of cuts and redundancies in the sector.
Thomas House, Warwick University UCU executive, personal capacity
Action is sorely needed in higher education - the employers are still angry following the final year of the last pay settlement, which was linked to inflation, representing 5% at the time.
At present, the financial crisis is causing a significant drop in universities' incomes, leading to threats of department closures and redundancies.
In particular, these threats are being used by employers during pay negotiations, with the implication that any significant pay increase will simply lead to more job losses. Tory think tank Policy Exchange has even floated the idea of a whole university going bankrupt.
To respond to this onslaught, Socialist Party members in UCU will be supporting a Yes vote for action. Ultimately, national action is needed to secure adequate public funding for higher education.
Shamefully, the National Union of Students has expressed "dismay" at this "strike threat" - New Labour and other right-wing elements in the student movement are therefore happy to see students' education attacked. Without a fightback involving both staff and students, both teaching and research will suffer.
In addition to unity between students and staff, we need wider action from the trade union movement to defend jobs during the recession. Capitalism has found trillions to bail out finance, while education and other services go to the wall. Only a socialist programme for society can provide a long term future for our universities.
In The Socialist 6 May 2009:
Defend victimised trade unionist
No 2 EU - Yes to Democracy
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