As chair of the Association of University Teachers national administrative staff committee, I want to distance that body of staff we represent from the submission of the Association of University Administrators to the Independent Review Committee on higher education pay and conditions (the Bett committee) and, in particular, from the AUA's perverse stance on the major issue of a statutory independent pay review body.
The AUT has been campaigning long and vociferously for a PRB. The AUA, by its own admission, is not primarily concerned with pay and conditions. Moreover, unlike the AUT, it is not recognised by the employers as a negotiating body. In such circumstances, it is regrettable that it has moved to undermine the AUT's campaign. The AUA is opposed to a PRB but its submission to Bett does not suggest an alternative. Indeed the very argument the AUA uses to object to such a body - that "higher education institutions are not homogeneous but a diverse group of individual employers with widely differing funding arrangements and capabilities" - is one that seems more logically to support it. I also challenge the contention that "the imposition of unfunded pay awards by a review body would be damaging to HEIs": the AUT's evidence is that public-sector pay review body groups have been funded much better than non-PRB groups.
In conclusion, it is not clear how the interests of administrative staff nationally will be best served under the AUA's scheme of things.
Susan Harte Chair AUT administrative staff committee