Crossing swords over salaries 1

August 3, 2007

The arguments presented by the employers against national pay bargaining ("Pay talks face radical reform", July ) are disingenuous. Any university is free to establish its grading structure at will, inside or above the national pay framework, provided it is consistent with the memorandum of understanding. There is nothing inherent in the agreement to preclude the setting of junior lecturers', researchers' or librarians' salaries locally at, say, £50,000. It follows, therefore, that since individual institutions are quite free to increase pay levels the motivation to break from national bargaining must be to reduce pay or to pay some of us more at the expense of others.

Furthermore, the demand for single-table bargaining is aimed at restricting the influence of the University and College Union, by far the largest of the campus unions, by allowing us only a minority voice at the bargaining table. Presumably, the employers believe the other unions will be less vociferous in presenting pay aspirations on behalf of their members.

Gavin Reid
President, Leeds University University College Union and National Executive Committee

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