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Duty bound

It is disappointing to see Michael McAllister, the principal of Blackpool and The Fylde College, repeating the somewhat specious argument that "the professional contract recognises what they (lecturers) do" (TES, April 14).

First, it is a rather strange view of professionalism that leads FE employers to say, in effect, to lecturers that they no longer trust them to perform over and above the strict limits of the Silver Book - work that lecturers have performed for years from a true sense of professionalism. Second, this argument fails to recognise that there is a world of difference between lecturers performing additional duties on this voluntary, professional basis and employers being able to require such work as a contractual duty.

At the very least, the employers should recognise that additional contractual requirements have to be paid for - and 2.9 per cent more pay for 40 per cent more work is a bad deal in anyone's book. This is to say nothing of the damage that longer hours and larger classes will inflict upon quality of provision.

Finally, the truly sad aspect of this present dispute is that, whatever the outcome, it will take years to rebuild the goodwill and professional respect between management and lecturers that the Colleges' Employers' Forum's confrontational approach has so wantonly destroyed.

MARTIN HUNT

NATFHE member

Outer London

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