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UCU says staff input is only way to ensure European mobility programme will work

8 February 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, will today tell delegates at a major European education seminar that unless trade unions are centrally involved in plans for greater mobility for staff and students across Europe the whole process risks becoming a white elephant.

Speaking at the 'Making Bologna a reality' seminar in central London, Sally Hunt will say: 'We are delighted that at last the trade unions representing the academic community in Europe are now fully integrated in the Bologna Process - it has taken us long enough to get to here.

'I want to impress just how important it is for the government and other key decision makers in every country to engage with the staff representatives and trade unions of our universities. The full involvement of academic and support staff in the Bologna Process will give it the dynamism it needs; without this the whole process risks being a grand idea that does not come fully to fruition.'

The aims of the Bologna Process are to create greater mobility between European countries for students and staff and to produce a system of easily comparable degrees.

Sally Hunt will tell the audience that if Bologna is to be successful it will be the willingness of staff to move between European states and to take up the challenges of teaching in new cultures that will be required. She will say: 'We are aware of course that there are many differences between the way our higher education systems are organised in the different European states. Some of these differences may prove to be obstacles to harmonisation and these may at times seem insurmountable, but I believe that with the academic staff and their trade unions engaged fully in the process we will be able to find solutions to these difficulties.'

The seminar takes place on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 February at the TUC Congress Centre, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LS. Sally Hunt is speaking at in the first session starting at 11am. Other speakers at the event include TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber.