Pay talk continues 1

June 30, 2006

Tom Hickey's assertion (Opinion, June 16) that the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association had "a different concern" to that about pay is just not the case. The "commodification", or otherwise, of higher education falls outside Ucea's remit and played no part in the negotiations.

Similarly, Simon Renton's statement (Letters, June 16) that the agreement allows for "an examination of Ucea" is mistaken. The agreement includes a review of the negotiating machinery, the Joint Negotiating Committee for Higher Education Staff, which comprises the unions and Ucea.

Renton asserts that univer-sities "agreed to open their books... early enough for this to inform our negotiations for the third year's pay claim".

In fact, the agreement states: "This review will draw on independent data sources and will report by autumn 2008 to inform subsequent negotiations... for academic year 2009-10 and later. In the event that the review were to provide evidence of higher education institutions' ability to further improve the pay of staff for the 2008-09 year, this would be included within these negotiations." In other words, the agreement is a three-year deal that raises the possibility of a retrospective element in the negotiations for 2009-10.

Andy Fryer


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