The implication last week that some institutions will not implement this year's pay rise was misleading ("Poverty plea could delay 3.5 per cent pay rise", THES , September ). First, all higher education trade unions have accepted the offer. This year's settlement is innovative and reasonable given the financial climate as it leads to the establishment of a single pay spine for all staff covered by national bargaining and provides for large increases - 13.4 per cent for entry-grade academic staff and 5 per cent for low-paid support staff.
Second, this is the second year that we have had a so-called financial difficulties clause in the final agreement. This has yet to be used by any higher education institution.
We have every reason to believe that institutions will go to great lengths to find ways to ensure the pay award is implemented, as they did last year, despite the financial difficulties many face. To suggest otherwise is a red herring that diverts us from the real progress being made in the national negotiations on pay modernisation and other important issues.
Universities and Colleges Employers Association