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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 12:26 GMT
Academics to hold strike over pay
Lecture
Lecturers originally asked for a 28% rise
Universities face several days of disruption later this month, after an academics' union voted in favour of strikes over pay.

Members of the Association of University Teachers backed the measure by two to one in a postal ballot.

Walkouts, likely to be in the week from February 23, will coincide with action by the National Union of Students over top-up fee plans.

The AUT says lecturers' pay has fallen by 40% in real terms in 20 years.

'Unprecedented'

Some 66% of its members who took part in the ballot voted for strikes, while 81% backed industrial action which would involve them refusing to mark students' work.

The AUT has 47,000 members, at most of Britain's older universities. Of these, 55% voted.

Lecturers say a proposed pay increase of 6.44% over two years is not enough.

They are also opposed to a new pay and grading scheme which, they say, will weaken pay bargaining and mean wage reductions for some staff.

The AUT's general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: "Our members, who have turned out in unprecedented numbers, have comprehensively rejected the employers' proposals that would lead to many lecturers losing 6,300 over eight years, researchers losing 17,300 over nine years and senior support staff losing 47,000 over 21 years.

"AUT members feel very angry that their pay has declined by 40% in comparison to the rest of the workforce and they know full well that the employers' current proposals will make matters worse for many."

But Jocelyn Prudence, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association, said: "Clearly 95% of the 320,000 staff in higher education don't want a strike.

"It is regrettable that the AUT should be proposing to strike over the very necessary modernisation of pay structures, and at a time when the financial pressures on universities have never had a higher profile."


SEE ALSO:
Lecturers to vote on strike action
16 Oct 03  |  Education
Lecturers offered new pay deal
21 Jul 03  |  Education
Lecturers continue strike action
29 May 02  |  Education


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