Hardline reps drown us out

17th October 2003 at 01:00
It's a good job members of Natfhe, the lecturers' union, were given a ballot on the latest pay offer. Otherwise, it seems, their voices would never have been heard above those of their more hardline regional representatives.

Long before the ballot, the fact that members wanted to go for the two-year offer from the Association of Colleges had already been made clear when branches came out 155 in favour and 35 against. By contrast, when the regions sent representatives to a national special conference to discuss the pay offer, they voted against the deal.

But when members were balloted directly, 83 per cent were in favour of the deal rather than more industrial action.

FErret hears there is a growing feeling that, if the union's structures were democratic in the first place, the ballot could have been dispensed with - saving pound;20,000.

National executive committee member and union treasurer Fawzi Ibrahim, in a letter seen by FErret, has written to senior colleagues in protest.

"This is not the first time that the membership, when asked, came out with a different result than the conference that is supposed to represent them."

The answer might be to remove the regions from the policy-making process. But this could only be done at the annual conference - which, again, is made up of regions.

As one insider commented: "It would be like asking turkeys to vote for Christmas."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today