An 'old' chestnut 1

January 23, 2004

Who is Mark Thompson of Hay Group trying to kid by blaming university pay problems on "traditional" staff attitudes ("Why I", THES , January 16)?

Far from "pressing for reform", governments have consistently underfunded pay. Are staff rather than managers responsible for sex discrimination in pay? The problem with identifying an individual contribution is not just "what to measure and how to measure it" but who does the measuring. Trade unions may help evaluate the job, but not the person, nor who deserves promotion. Their defence of length of service as a pay criterion derives not from conservatism but lack of confidence in management judgements, especially when senior managers increasingly embrace inappropriate and discredited business models.

The pay reform proposals have something to offer but also have serious weaknesses, the greatest of which is the absence of new money.

Daniel Vulliamy
Head, Centre for Lifelong Learning
University of Hull

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