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Monday, August 2, 1999 Published at 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK


Education

Dispute hits university admissions

The action comes as universities process exam results

Admissions to some universities could be disrupted because of industrial action by lecturers, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) is warning.

The action, which is part of a pay dispute, will affect Scottish universities first.

Most candidates in Scotland will receive the results of their Highers examinations on Friday.

The AUT is planning to start its first bout of two-day action three days later on 9 and 10 August.

A second period of action will take place on 19 and 20 August, to coincide with the release of the A level results on 19 August.


BBC Scotland's Ken Macdonald: "Nobody seems to have a solution"
An AUT spokeswoman said the action would only take place in "old" universities, as members in "new" universities, the former polytechnics, had not yet been balloted on taking action.

This is because the salary settlement date for "old" universities is 1 April, but for "new" universities it is 1 September.

The spokeswoman said the AUT expected members in "new" universities would take action later.

Pupils' results

Lecturers say they "bitterly regret" the action, which will take place as universities gear up to respond to pupils' results.

Union members are being asked not to do any work on admissions at a time when prospective students and their parents start calling for advice about the availability of courses.

It is the latest action in a long-running dispute over pay which has seen lecturers reject a 3.5% increase.

Their anger was fuelled by a recent report from the Bett Committee which found that since 1981, lecturers are lagging 27% behind those working in comparable non-manual occupations.

But the universities say they are unable to come up with more money without extra funding from the government.



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