Don't dismiss support

August 20, 2004

I am disappointed at David McAlpine's letter (August 6), especially the excerpt that says "the unions that claim to speak for academics negotiate us on to the same pay scale as those who clean our labs and trumpet it as some sort of progress...".

While his frankness may be admirable, his attitude towards support staff is offensive. Support staff play a vital role in higher education, often for low pay, and some appreciation for the work we do would not go amiss.

Unfortunately, I fear that his is not a lone voice.

I also think he misunderstands the agreement, which is about equal pay for equal value. This does not mean that a porter would ever be paid the same as a professor - but that a porter doing equal work as another porter or someone who is ranked at the same level is paid the same money. This concept appears to be too complex for McAlpine, even though he is from an elite university like University College London.

Tom Silverlock
Branch secretary, Unison
University College London

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns