On Friday of this week the UCU union will hold a conference of lecturers in higher education to discuss our 2009 pay claim.
Left activists are pushing for a claim of RPI inflation plus 5 percent. The key thing is that we have to say that we will not pay for the economic crisis.
Our pay campaign will be fought against a government that is attempting to limit public spending and pay rises. We will be fighting against the government and not simply our employers.
The economic crisis means we have to link our pay claim to the wider question of spending in higher education, which is coming under attack.
Our employers are already trying to undermine our rights to national bargaining. They are making noises about pay freezes and cuts to our pensions
UCU’s conference needs to make clear that we will fight such attacks and demand a pay rise in real terms.
Still more importantly we see uniting with other public sector workers, both inside and outside higher education, as a way to challenge the government’s attempt to weaken our rights.