Socialist Worker

Organising across the campuses to campaign against the offer

Issue No. 2005

Lecturers across the country have reacted with anger to the offer. A significant number of universities have already passed motions attacking the proposed deal.

The Bournemouth University UCU branch passed a motion which, “censures the UCU national executive for their capitulation in negotiations”.

John Brissenden, a lecturer at Bournemouth University, said, “Those who have engaged in industrial action did so because we felt our pay claim is serious enough to merit it.  So it is no wonder that there is a lot of anger at the fact that the action has now been suspended.

“As the dust clears, the real target of our anger is not our negotiators, but the employers, the TUC and the government who collaborated to break the action. 

“We are using this opportunity to regroup, to draw lessons and refine our strategy for ending 20 years of relative decline in our pay. That includes building membership of the new union, and making sure that any future action is effective. 


“Meanwhile our branch meeting this week will decide how we respond to the offer – a pay rise significantly less than the ones that most vice-chancellors have enjoyed over the past three years.”

Brian Kelly is a lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, where the employers have docked pay from 38 lecturers for taking part in the action.

He told Socialist Worker, “Throughout this dispute it has been the clear that members of both unions would not be willing to accept a deal that did not restore pay to lecturers who had been penalised for taking part in the action. Yet this deal does not force the bosses to pay back the docked pay.

“We have passed a motion in our branch which instructs the local committee and UCU nationally to take whatever industrial, legal or other action is necessary to secure full restoration of docked pay for members at Queen’s University Belfast.”

The Stirling University UCU branch voted to reject the deal, and to send a message of “disgust” to the union’s leadership.

Lecturer Iain Ferguson said, “We had a very good and very angry meeting at Stirling this week where people voted by 39-9 to reject the deal and campaign against it.”

Malcolm Povey, a lecturer at Leeds University, said, “The union at Leeds has never been in better shape. Union membership has risen from 900 to 1,700 in the past two years.

“People feel strong as a union, and they are proud of our action.”


Ian, a lecturer from Southampton, said, “We all know that this campaign is much wider than the issue of pay. Of course we want to be paid a decent wage.

“But we are also fighting for the future of higher education. Lecturers in a number of universities are already fighting over their working conditions as well as for pay.

“The reflex is to attack the leadership for this offer. But we must look wider than that. What was the role of the TUC in this offer being put to the members?

“And it was no coincidence that Gordon Brown announced his plans to freeze public sector workers pay for three years on the same day as the talks resumed.

“This is about the marketisation of education, and we have to fight to win.”

Universities where lecturers have passed motions condemning the offer include: Greenwich University, Hull University, University of Wales Institute, Glamorgan University, Southampton Solent University, Birmingham University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Cardiff University, Bath University, Nottingham Trent University (Clifton site), London Metropolitan University, Queen’s University Belfast, Bournenmouth University, University of Hertfordshire, Stirling University, Sunderland University, University of Sheffield and Lincoln University.

Conference to organise a new left in a new democratic fighting union


speakers include: Tony Benn, Danielle Obone, Steven Rose, Gargi Bhattacharya, Alex Callinicos, Elizabeth Lawrence, Paul Russell, Tom Hickey, Elizabeth Lawrence, Malcolm Povey, Andrew Price, Sami Ramadani

For more details go to:

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Sat 17 Jun 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2005
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