UNION LEADERS are ignoring a strike vote by further education lecturers. Instead leaders of the NATFHE union are ordering a new ballot and recommending that workers accept the same employers' offer they have just voted against! Lecturers delivered a two to one ballot majority in favour of rejecting a pay offer of just an extra 0.3 percent from next April.
This should have triggered a two-day strike during Labour's conference. But the further education committee of the NATFHE executive disgracefully decided to suspend the strike and reballot the membership. Worse still, union leaders are recommending acceptance of the employers' offer.
Their justification for this move was the relatively low turnout of 38.5 percent. Yet the ballot took place during enrolment and induction, the busiest time of the year, and many lecturers simply didn't get round to voting in time. There has been no significant improvement in the employers' offer.
The leadership's move is a capitulation to the employers and those in the trade union bureaucracy and the Labour Party who have been pressuring NATFHE not to strike during Labour's conference.
NATFHE activists must fight hard now to make sure the union leaders' cynical manoeuvres are defeated. Send motions and messages to the general secretary, Paul Mackney, and campaign to reject the offer.