Don't pay at your peril 1

February 10, 2006

So some university personnel chiefs are suggesting stopping the wages of staff if they take part in industrial action that affects assessment ("Threat to seize pay over exam boycott, February 3). Well, it has been tried before at a university near where I live. It backfired so spectacularly that this time the university has been at pains to reassure staff that it has no intention of repeating it. I suggest vice-chancellors think about that.

The postings of the personnel chiefs "urge v-cs to unite...".

Since when were vice-chancellors able to hold together sufficiently to pursue a policy position on almost anything, let alone on something contentious, where they would be subject to the various local pressures of governing bodies, senates, the local media and students?

The fees increase means that universities will have a one-off opportunity to invest substantially in their staff, in salaries and/or in the number of staff. The evidence points to staff of all grades feeling pressured. It makes sense to invest.

Vicky Seddon


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