CHANGE OF POLICY I\'m pleased to report that the University has re-thought it\'s approach to the present industrial action, and has decided *not* to consider totally stopping the pay of those participating in the assessment boycott. The AUT Local Association welcomes this change of policy, and thanks those who have shown their support by signing this petition. As a result of the change, the petition will not be presented formally to the University Court, but the Court will be made aware of its contents and of the response to it. ----------- ORIGINAL PETITION: This is a petition to the Court of the University of Aberdeen, and will be submitted to the Court on the 22nd of May 2006. In a recent e-mail to all staff, Professor Stephen Logan, the Senior Vice-Principal, said that he would ask the Court to authorise that pay and pension contributions of all staff participating in the present industrial action short of a strike be stopped entirely. We petition the court to refuse his request. In support of our petition we make the following observations: (1) University staff routinely contribute many hours of their own time to marking assessments within the very tight deadlines set by the University examination calendar. We believe that the goodwill this shows towards the institution should be recognised, and not undermined by a draconian response to the present industrial action. (2) This industrial action would not have threatened the end of term assessments if the University\'s negotiators - the Universities and Colleges Employers\' Association (UCEA) - had not deliberately deferred negotiating with the Association of University Teachers until the end of term assessments were imminent. This poorly considered negotiating tactic has caused immense damage to industrial relations in the whole Higher Education sector. (3) While we recognise and empathise with Professor Logan\'s desire to avoid damage to student assessments, we believe that this damage can be avoided if the University makes clear representations to UCEA that it wishes constructive and unconditional talks to take place immediately, with the objective of agreeing a satisfactory pay offer to its staff. (4) The total stoppage of pay will leave many staff in dire financial circumstances, and will permanently damage management/staff relationships in the University. While it may indeed lead to some staff relinquishing the action, it will inevitably undermine their commitment to the institution, their motivation, and their productivity for many years to come. This is a high price to pay for one diet of exams. We invite all those who have an interest in civilised industrial relations in Higher Education to support us.