Letter: PRP: perfectly ridiculous plan? (1)

June 29, 2001

The question is no longer if performance-related pay will be implemented for higher education staff but when, judging by the clear warning given by Sir Howard Newby ("Pay rises will be linked to performance", THES , June 22).

For cynics like me, however, PRP is just a devious and dubious substitute for a decent basic salary and has little to do with rewarding performance. It is highly divisive because it undeniably promotes "inverse utilitarianism", namely the greatest happiness of the smallest number.

But as a black employee, I am concerned about its equitable implementation. Evidence compiled by the Public and Commercial Services Union shows that few ethnic minority staff got PRP under the scheme run by the former Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

It is laudable that Sir Howard is fighting sex discrimination, but he failed to mention other kinds of discriminations - race or disability, for example. I am dreading the fact that men in grey suits will be deciding my PRP using mainly unreliable and subjective criteria.

Finally, many employees will share my view that the system of rewarding mediocre and excellent ministers equally needs reforming too.

Roger Numas
Vice-president
Association of University Teachers (Brighton University)

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