The Universities Personnel Association has hit out at the blanket pay rises anticipated to be recommended by Bett.
"The sector is incredibly diverse in terms of its mission statements, ability to pay and willingness to pay," said Larry Bunt, chairman of the UPA. "Our worry is that the Bett recommendations will be too specific and that the sector will be forced into a straitjacket."
Terms and conditions vary widely between old and new universities, Mr Bunt added. For example, in the new universities, lecturers' hours are set by a national agreement while old universities negotiate individually. "It is almost inevitable that as institutions become more diverse the pay and rewards will become diverse, as institutions are operating in different markets," he said.
Top slicing the Pounds 450 million to fund pay rises from the total budget for higher education would be disastrous, Mr Bunt claimed. "I don't believe there is really going to be any new money, so the budget will be top sliced," he said. "Institutions will be able to reclaim their money by implementing the Bett recommendations, which will be inappropriate for many."
Mr Bunt called for a debate on spending priorities at the institutional level. "Should the money go into the pockets of staff or should it be spent in other areas such as learning and teaching?" he asked.