University hit by strike action

By Roddy AshworthLECTURES and seminars were disrupted at one of the region's universities as members of an academic union went out on strike.The Association of University Teachers (AUT) called the industrial action after an annual pay rise of 3% was proposed, along with a number of far-reaching changes to employment conditions.

By Roddy Ashworth

LECTURES and seminars were disrupted at one of the region's universities as members of an academic union went out on strike.

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) called the industrial action after an annual pay rise of 3% was proposed, along with a number of far-reaching changes to employment conditions.

These would mean the effective abolition of national collective pay bargaining for lecturers, which could see some staff lose thousands of pounds in career earnings.


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Most lectures at Essex University were cancelled yesterday because of the strike and AUT members manned a number of picket lines at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

The union's Essex president, Dr Aulay Mackenzie, said: “Staff are dismayed by the national employers' proposals, which would see staff lose up to £47,000 in career earnings, and they are determined to take a stand and show management they mean business.”

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A spokeswoman for the university said: “Strenuous efforts have been made by the universities' employers representatives at national level to reach a fair and acceptable solution in this year's pay negotiations.

“All the other higher education trades unions have reached agreement with the employers, including the other unions that represent academic staff.”

She added: “The pay offer is responsible and stretches to the limit of what the university sector can afford, if academic staff redundancies are to be avoided.

“The employers are disappointed that the AUT rejects the plans to introduce a system of job evaluation which is necessary to underpin equal opportunities in pay within the sector.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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