V-cs deserve a rise? That's rich 1

March 2, 2007

The vice-chancellors' pay rises (News, February 23) could significantly demoralise other university staff. As Adrian Furnham of University College London noted recently: "The power of money to demotivate is much higher than its power to motivate... if you get it wrong." And the best way to get it wrong is to ensure that people are "not equitably paid relative to each other in the same organisation". This, of course, is exactly what the vice-chancellors have achieved by paying themselves large increases when their staff have languished on much less. The best thing vice-chancellors could do to increase morale in universities would be to announce that from now on they will take only the same increases as their staff.

At least we can rule out the option suggested at a university instructors' union meeting I attended in the US a number of years ago. In a debate that will sound familiar, members were very dissatisfied with their union's attempt to get a pay rise. A resolution was put forward suggesting that everyone should resign en masse and join the Teamsters union. This was on the grounds that "it would take only two or three college presidents to be found at the bottom of the Housatonic River in concrete boots and the rest would be much more amenable..." But I guess that's further than most University and College Union members would go.

Ormond Simpson
Open University

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