It is hardly surprising that employers, in the guise of Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, are trying to dampen expectations of a decent pay settlement this year with their public comments just as Ucea embarks on consulting its subscribers on what to offer their staff.
What should be a matter of public alarm is that universities have had Pounds 588 million under the "Rewarding and developing staff" Higher Education Funding Council for England initiative, hardly any of which we believe has made its way into staff pay. Instead, the resources have been wasted on dubious human resources expansion schemes and a proliferation of new HR staff.
Natfhe is requesting, under the Freedom of Information Act, that each "new" university discloses how much has been spent on staff pay since 2001. While David Blunkett, Education Secretary at that time, promised that this money would be spent on pay, it is a public scandal that vice-chancellors have frittered it away to increase "management capacity".
Tony Blair asserted a few years back in Parliament that our pay had fallen 40 per cent relative to comparable professions. This figure would be even higher if calculated today.
Chair, Natfhe Higher Education Committee