Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Students should not continue to suffer in lecturers' pay dispute says Stephen Williams MP.

12.08.56pm BST (GMT +0100) Fri 2nd Jun 2006

Stephen Williams MP with some Bristol Unniversity students (photography: Tim Pollard)

Commenting on the University and College Lecturers' Union's rejection of the latest pay offer from the University and College Employers Association, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Higher and Further Education Stephen Williams MP said:

"Higher education is crucial to our economy, international competitiveness and cultural life and many lecturers are understandably aggrieved at not receiving pay increases in line with other public sector workers over the past 25 years.

"However, continued advice by the unions not to set or to mark exams will hurt students, not the employers. It could also leave a lasting damage to the international reputation of UK universities."

"The unions should consider putting the current offer to their members in a ballot. If they democratically choose to continue industrial action they should look at other means of protest such as suspending their own research work. A month of empty journals would shift the risk of the dispute from students to those that have a grievance.

"In order to reduce the temperature in this dispute, university employers must withdraw any moves to dock the pay of striking staff."

"Once this dispute is resolved both sides should consider how they can avoid a repeat of such a devastating clash in future pay rounds. For instance they could consider whether an independent pay review body might be a way forward."

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