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Results of Membership Ballot Announced, Creating Largest Post – 16 union in World

The ballot results for the proposed merger of the University and College Lecturers” Union (NATFHE) and the Higher Education Union the Association of University Teachers (AUT) were announced today

The ballot closed yesterday, and the results were released today at 12.30. The result reveals the level of approval for this move, with 80% of AUT members and 95% of NATFHE members voting in favour of the proposal. The merger was one of the key features of the summer conferences for the two unions, as the general secretaries believe that the creation of the new union will further their ability to defend the interests of their members.

UCU in the Future

The result will lead to the creation of the largest union for post school academic and academic related staff in the world, combining the 48,000 membership of the AUT and the 62,000 members of NATFHE joining forces to form the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU). This would come into being from the 1st of June 2006, and following a transitional year would become fully operational from June 2007.

One concern that remains regards the need for the interests of FE and HE professionals to be represented equally. If there are a greater number of HE professionals within the new “super union” than there are FE professionals, there is the distinct risk that HE issues will receive increased prominence and therefore more representation.

On the other hand, the new union has the potential to revolutionise campaigns on funding and pay conditions across the post 16 education sector, HE and FE alike. They will have the opportunity to protest unfair funding decisions and pay deals with a stronger, fuller voice; a voice that other concerned parties would find difficult to ignore.

Jethro Marsh

Welcome the new union in the FE Blog

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