PROVOCATION – AUT denounces threat to cut lecturers wages

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University of Strathclyde Association of University Teachers (AUT) representative David Blieman yesterday described as ‘provocative’ a threat to dock lecturers’ pay if they don’t set exam papers in the continuing national dispute over pay.

AUT general secretary, Sally Hunt, added: ‘The majority of universities recognise that bullying tactics like withholding pay will act as a catalyst for prolonged and far more damaging disruption, with, in some cases, irretrievable damage being done to students’ education.

‘As well as leaving a legacy of bitterness between employers and staff this course of action would leave students unlikely to ever get their marks back as staff will not make up the backlog of work without being paid to do it.’

University managers have given senior staff licence to dock the salary of lecturers who fail to set exams by up to 30 per cent over a three-week period.

The AUT has instructed members nationally not to draw up exam papers. Talks aimed at settling the two-month pay dispute collapsed on Monday when employers made a ‘final’ offer of a just over three per cent increase.

To date, industrial action at University of Strathclyde has led to the cancellation of eleven exams.

Strathclyde AUT rep, Blieman said the pay docking threat was a ‘provocative move’ that would only ‘exacerbate matters’.

Blieman also warned such a move would make it ‘less likely’ students would be able to sit exams.

He added: ‘Once our members have had their pay docked for not setting or marking exams, there is no obligation on that employee to ever do that work again.

‘In the best interests of the students, universities should not deduct money from our members because they are going to need to cooperate with our members in putting things right for students as soon as this dispute can be settled.’