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Fighting the lockout 13 May, 2006

Posted by blogforvictory in Uncategorized.

So now we know what we are up against. Despite doing everything over the two months of the dispute so far to minimise disruption to students (by marking, giving feedback and often marks back to students but withholding them from the university), and performing the other 95% of our jobs normally, the BU vice chancellor has threatened us with the withholding of 100% of our pay if we don’t submit marks at least 14 days before the relevant exam board. This amounts to suspension without pay: a lockout.

Of course using this sledgehammer approach – in a national dispute where the outcome will be decided by every university in the country – has immediately backfired. Student opinion, which was probably drifting against us until the VC issued his threat on Wednesday, is now much more sympathetic as the employers’ role as aggressor, and obstacle to a settlement, is revealed. And of course it has stiffened our resolve, even though the threat has also made people feel intimidated and anxious about the consequences once pay starts being cut in a couple of weeks’ time.

I am reminded of the words of Peter Knight, vice chancellor of UCE Birmingham (28% pay increase over past three years), back on 7 March: “If pay is stopped, the action will collapse. “While there is proper and understandable loyalty to the unions from their members, there is a limit to that loyalty and it will get severely tested at pay day.”

We shall see.



1. noel - 14 May, 2006

there will be a one day conference to help launch a rank and file within the new UCU union on the 24th June….

see: http://www.uculeft.org for details

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