Civilised pay reviews

October 10, 1997

I AM astonished that you say in your leader (THES, October 3), that "the AUT might pause before pressing on with its campaign for a pay review body if academic staff are thereby to become in effect public sector workers subject to government pay policy".

First, academics have fared far worse than any workers subject to public sector review bodies.

Second, you must surely remember when our employers actually boasted that they had been more successful in holding down our salaries than the government itself had been with its own workers.

Third, you must know that the government's delay in responding to Dearing's recommendation for an independently chaired review of pay is because it wants to see how much money is left after all the other PRBs have reported, i.e. those without a PRB are always the last in the queue.

Finally, and perhaps most important, a PRB provides the most civilised method of settling pay grievances without the need to resort to damaging Neanderthal trials of strength.

The pay determination system is supported only by those who are unwilling (and/or unable) to pay fair salaries and those who enjoy the aggravation and chaos which inevitably results. Ninety-nine per cent of AUT members have voted for PRB -the only sensible alternative.

P. K. Burgess

Immediate past president AUT, Dundee University

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