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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
University bosses stir MP's wrath
Barry Sheerman
Mr Sheerman's committee sought to explore the issues
A leading MP has accused university employers of a "breach of trust" in a statement they issued about a Commons committee hearing.

The education committee heard from both sides in the university pay dispute.

Afterwards the employers said members of the committee had called on the unions to ballot their members on the latest three-year pay offer of 12.6%.

Committee chair Barry Sheerman said this was "absolutely the opposite of the truth", adding: "I'm hopping mad."

The Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA) issued a statement to news media after the committee hearing, quoting its chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland - who had given evidence.

"We are delighted that members of the education and skills committee this morning added their voice to the growing demand for the AUT and Natfhe to put this 12.6% pay offer to a ballot."

Dialogue

Mr Sheerman said: "It's absolutely the opposite of the truth."

He said one member of the committee had asked union representatives why they had not put the employers' offer to their members in a ballot.

And the unions had explained they felt this would waste time when they knew what the outcome would be.

Mr Sheerman said the committee had invited in both sides to articulate their concerns.

"We were trying to air issues and perhaps get a dialogue going."

Of the statement, he said: "It's the opposite of the truth and this is a real breach of trust. I don't see how anyone can trust an organisation that would do that."

He added: "I'm hopping mad."

Shortly afterwards UCEA issued a fresh statement.

Dr Copland's remarks read: "We are delighted that members of the education and skills committee probed AUT and Natfhe on why members had not been given the chance to decide on the 12.6% pay offer."




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