Lecturers prepare to strike over pay

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The Independent Online

University lecturers are preparing to go on strike after accusing vice-chancellors of breaking a promise to increase pay following the introduction of top-up tuition fees.

The legislation was passed by the House of Commons in 2004 by just five votes and Alan Johnson, the higher education minister at the time, said that a third of the additional £5bn top-up fees would be spent on improved pay and conditions for university lecturers.

But vice-chancellors have so far refused to budge.

Representatives of the main university lecturers' union, the AUT, will meet vice-chancellors on Tuesday in a final attempt to avert a strike, but a union source said there was "no way" a deal would be struck.

As well as a one-day national strike, lecturers would also stop all work on exams and coursework. If the situation is not resolved, hundreds of thousands of students face the possibility of not receiving their degrees this summer.

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the AUT, said: "We have absolutely no desire whatsoever to take see student's work suffer and we hope the employers don't either."

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