From education to employment

Further Education and Higher Education Lecturers and Teachers Unions To Ballot Members On Me

The University and College Lecturers” Union (NATFHE), has supported the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in its decision to ballot its members on proposals for a union merger.

The AUT put forward the proposal at its annual conference and the merger will provide a voice for all academic and related staff on pay and conditions. NATFHE’s General Secretary, Paul Mackney, said academic and academic-related staff wanted real shared ownership of developments in the system they work in. “In a single union these staff will be in a much stronger position to fight for decent pay and conditions – and for high quality education for students,” said Mr Mackney.

AUT general secretary Sally Hunt welcomed the change by saying a single union which covered both higher and further education would put the AUT in the driving seat to take post-16 education forward. “The AUT led the way last year on pay with members taking industrial action to win a fair deal. We regained our confidence and got the best deal in the sector. But the employers were still able to divide and rule,” she said.

She also told delegates that employers organisations were sleepwalking towards the future rather than engaging with the changes taking place. “They have chosen to follow, not lead the debate. The AUT has now chosen to lead and creating a single union will mean that we can advance the interests of the whole sector,” she said.

The NATFHE represents 68,000 lecturers in new universities, further education colleges and adult education. The NATFHE ballot would take place in the autumn, with a parallel ballot held by the AUT.

Katherine Hayes

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