Late risers will still pay

November 6, 2008

The assertion in the article on the 5 per cent pay increase is in need of clarification ("Staff denied full pay rise at two institutions", 23 October).

The Universities and Colleges Employers Association (Ucea) has said repeatedly that institutions will have to reassess their budget priorities to meet the exceptionally high pay increase and some may utilise the 2006-09 pay agreement deferment clause. However, the deferment is not indefinite and the 5 per cent rise will still be applied, albeit in stages, prior to 1 August 2009 - a far better outcome than staff cuts.

I also write to correct a misreading of the preceding week's article ("5% pay rise takes some salaries up by a quarter in three years", 16 October) through J. Richard Hanley's letter (23 October). Ucea has made it clear that the three-year pay deal has given staff a total pay rise of at least 15 per cent, with more than 50 per cent in 2008 receiving much more through annual increments.

The illustrative example reported was presented very clearly by Times Higher Education - the figure of 26.6 per cent including increments was not in addition to the 15 per cent, but inclusive of this.

Finally, there is a danger that the size of this year's pay increase is being taken for granted in a way that employees elsewhere in the UK would find quite shocking. As the UK economy faces its most challenging period in decades, we probably have yet to see the impact of these rising staff costs as we embark on a rocky financial road ahead.

Damian Docherty, Head of employee relations and reward, Universities and Colleges Employers Association.

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