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Manager attack was a misstep

It is a shame that the University and College Union's (UCU) well- considered and powerful motion at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) annual conference on opposing privatisation in education was devalued by an unprovoked and frankly outrageous attack on college managers by the Alistair Hunter, UCU president ("Managers' desire to privatise is `obscene and foolish'", September 18).

The Association of College Management (ACM) is as strongly opposed to privatisation in education as the UCU, and it is our experience that the overwhelming majority of managers in colleges share this view.

It is college managers that have to implement the often ill-conceived policies of government when they would much rather be focusing on their top priority of ensuring the best experience and outcomes for students; most recognise that privatising provision would make achieving this even more difficult. For example, it is not easy to find many advocates for discredited schemes such as Train to Gain among the ranks of managers in colleges, as the UCU knows very well because it spoke in support of the ACM's motion on this very issue at the TUC conference.

The UCU still claims to represent some college managers, but it is a wonder how it still has the gall to take their subscriptions when all it seem to want to do is vilify them. In the next two or three years we are going to face unprecedented attacks on colleges and college workers at every level, so it really is time that the UCU stopped reverting to posture politics from the 1970s and started facing up to the real issues that all of the further education trades unions are going to have to confront in the coming period.

Peter Pendle, Chief executive and general secretary, Association of College Management.

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