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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2006, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Lecturers boo education minister
Bill Rammell
At one point, Bill Rammell was slow hand clapped
Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell has been heckled and booed by university lecturers involved in a dispute over pay.

Mr Rammell was jeered at the annual conference of the University and College Lecturers' union NATFHE as he urged them to end an exam boycott.

He was heckled as he said he was proud of Labour's record on academic pay.

Delegates shouted "shame" as he told them the government was investing "more than ever before".

Final-year students across the country face exam papers being left unmarked as unions and university bosses struggle to reach a pay deal.

Unions want a 23% increase, but employers are offering 12.6% over three years.

Natfhe and its sister union the Association of University Teachers have refused to mark exams or coursework since March. The AUT is also boycotting exam-setting.

Hissed and booed

During the Blackpool conference, delegates held placards marked "We know it's there, where's our share?" and chanted slogans demanding better wages.

I have consistently urged all parties to find a way to resolve this dispute and today, again, I urge that sanctions against students be duly lifted
Bill Rammell

The minister was also slow hand clapped during a question-and-answer session as lecturers shouted "show us the money".

When he mentioned the name of former Education Secretary Ruth Kelly the audience hissed and booed.

Mr Rammell said: "I have consistently urged all parties to find a way to resolve this dispute and today, again, I urge that sanctions against students be duly lifted.

"In the university sector I am concerned, as is Education Secretary Alan Johnson, about the impact on students of industrial action and although this is a dispute between the universities and yourselves, I have quite rightly kept in contact with both sides."




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