Lecturers at Northumbria university are due to begin indefinite strike action from Tuesday of next week after effectively being locked out by their employers.
The bosses have deducted 100 percent of pay for lecturers who refuse to set exams as part of the action over pay by Natfhe and AUT lecturers’ union members.
A number of universities are threatening to dock lecturers’ pay, and Northumbria and Birmingham universities have followed through.
Strathclyde university has given senior staff powers to dock lecturers’ salaries by as much as 30 percent over a three-week period if they fail to set exams.
Bosses at Aberdeen university are set to impose a 12.5 percent pay increase over three years for all staff—despite this offer being rejected by lecturers.
Dundee university has announced it will follow suit if no national pay settlement is reached. It is understood that both universities will increase the pay offer if a higher national agreement is made.
A lecturer at Northumbria university told Socialist Worker, “On Wednesday of last week a mass Natfhe meeting was called in response to a letter sent to all academics from the vice-chancellor.
“The letter stated management’s intention to withdraw all pay. This was the first time in the current dispute that 100 percent pay deduction has been threatened and enacted.
“We have around 600 members at the university, and people are angry at the unprecedented action by the employers.
“A loud and angry meeting gathered in the open air quadrangle and members considered the way forward. Two hundred lecturers then marched to the vice-chancellor’s office where they chanted and slow handclapped.
“We received fantastic messages of support from union branches last week and the AUT national conference passed a motion of support.
“On Friday of last week a further union meeting was called at Northumbria. Union members heard about the attempts to try and break us because we are the largest branch outside London, and the importance of standing firm against management bullying and intimidation.
“The branch has also been in dispute over redundancies and downgrading of staff from the university’s English language centre, which is being slimmed down ready for outsourcing in the near future.
“It’s really important that we continue to hold local meetings and that we make the links between the attacks on education and the wider attacks on public services.
“These areas are all part of the attempts to inflict the neo-liberal agenda on the education sector and must be strongly resisted.”
Send messages of support for the Northumbria lecturers to Martin Levy, Natfhe branch secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Is Not For Sale conference to organise a new left in a new democratic union, Saturday 24 June. Hosted by the Natfhe branch at London Metropolitan University. For more details go to www.uculeft.org