From education to employment

Proposal to Merge Two Unions into One Voice sees Ballot Boxes Open

The proposed merger of the two largest post ““ school teaching unions that was aired at their conferences last year seems to be moving a step closer as the ballot for their respective memberships opens today.

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) are a significant voice in the post ““ school education world, boasting approximately 48,000 members. The University and College Lecturers” Union (NATFHE) has a total membership of 68,000, with some 42,000 employed within the Further Education sector. Both have been active in their campaigning on issues such as pay deals for teachers and lecturers, pension arrangements, and the much ““ criticised “Top ““ Up Fees”.

The Ballot

The ballots of the two unions open today, and will be administered by Electoral Reform Services. They will be run simultaneously within NATFHE and AUT until Thursday the 1st December. The result will be announced on Friday 2 December. The new union would form a powerful new unified force, bringing together higher education lecturers, managers, researchers and many academic related staff such as librarians, administrators and computing professionals across the whole UK plus further education lecturers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The memberships of the two unions reached near ““ unanimous favourable verdicts on putting this merger to the memberships earlier this year. In a joint statement, Sally Hunt, general secretary AUT and Paul Mackney, general secretary NATFHE said: “We firmly believe that we need to create a stronger union now, capable of defending and advancing our professional interests in an insecure world, but the final decision about whether this happens rests with our members.”

This merger would see the memberships of the two unions gain a much more significant voice in defending their rights within education. And whilst there could be concerns regarding the blurring of area ““ specific projects, the new union would be better placed than ever to fight the corner of the membership in ensuring that the promises made by Government are kept on pay, pensions and promised reforms.

Jethro Marsh

Cast your vote”¦is the merger good or bad? Tell us in the FE Blog

Related Articles