ACTION BY university lecturers over pay continues with growing pressure by the membership on the executive of the AUT union to step up the action. At Leeds, weekly strike committee meetings are attracting 20 or so departmental reps, and the feedback from departments is tremendous.
Nationally more than 2,000 new members have joined the AUT in recent weeks to take part in the action. Members are responding in large numbers to the union's call to boycott assessments. AUT members are fighting to reject an offer which means a pay cut for many, unregulated job evaluation, and a free for all on pay and grading as a result of an end to national pay bargaining.
The government's fees proposals make an already serious funding crisis worse, threatening the whole future of higher education in Britain. The current spate of department closures in the universities is becoming a flood.
The AUT action is giving people the confidence to challenge these closures. At Nottingham University the management have gone as far as to implement the employers' proposals locally. The university has been 'grey listed' by the union.
AUT members from other universities are asked not to carry out academic duties in Nottingham and not to apply for jobs there. The AUT has declared a local dispute, and a one-day strike was held on Tuesday.
The AUT national conference is due at the end of this month. Activists need to increase the pressure on the executive for more action, including a week-long strike, and mobilise the pressure amongst ordinary members to do this.