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Lecturers' union in cash trap

The lecturers' union NATFHE is proposing a cost-cutting shake-up of its structure and operations to stave off severe cash problems caused by falling membership.

The union, which has seen membership drop by 10 per cent to 70,000 over two years, has drawn up a rescue package of measures including halving the size of the national executive committee, switching from an annual to a biennial conference with fewer delegates, and holding NEC and national officer elections every two years instead of one.

The NEC was due to meet this week to consider the plan, which will require a two-thirds majority to be adopted. A recruitment drive has already been launched with an amnesty for lapsed members and special deals for new lecturers.

NATFHE is now switching from national action to local negotiations. A proposed national strike ballot over pay has been scrapped as many colleges have either made or are discussing local deals.

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