The conference of the Natfhe lecturers’ union overwhelmingly endorsed merger with the AUT union last weekend.
That will create a new union of about 115,000 members in colleges and universities.
Around 55 delegates met at a conference fringe meeting organised by Natfhe Rank and File and discussed working with activists in the AUT to lay the basis for a new rank and file organisation in the merged union.
Conference reaffirmed opposition to Tony Blair’s renewed attempts to push through yet more Tory policies on education funding and pensions, and to demonise young people.
University and college lecturers face a range of attacks. Lecturers at London Metropolitan University, who have just been on strike for a week against attempts to force them onto worse contracts, spelt out the importance of organising determined industrial action to stop bullying employers in their tracks.
Drastic funding cuts will mean course closures and attacks on jobs and contracts in further education colleges.
Scandalously, 75 percent of college managements have failed to implement the second year of a two-year pay deal.
Natfhe’s leaders were heavily criticised at the conference for failing to organise effective national action in order to force its implementation.
Conference delegates committed the union to organising strike action when colleges return after the summer break.
The Stop the War fringe meeting attracted 40 delegates. Anger against the war and the occupation of Iraq surfaced again and again during the conference.
Many delegates are organising to protest against the G8.