College saves with profit-related pay

January 24, 1997

UNIVERSITY College London is considering a profit-related pay scheme even though tax relief on PRP will soon be phased out.

Provost Sir Derek Roberts said the proposal was unrelated to attempts to overcome a 10 per cent funding deficit. He said this aim had largely been achieved by increasing income through additional research and more postgraduate and overseas students.

Sir Derek said consultations on PRP would be held over the next two months, and that the scheme would give staff more pay and raise cash for library improvements.

Following the changes made in the November budget, a PRP scheme would be economic for only one or possibly two years.

In a letter to all staff, Sir Derek said a feasibility study indicated that the scheme would produce a Pounds 1.2 million "saving". This would be shared equally between the college and staff, who would receive a 1 to 2 per cent rise in net pay, and a cash bonus of 1 to 2 per cent at the end of the first year (December 1998).

If UCL decides to go ahead staff will be balloted by May 30. If 80 per cent of staff are in favour, the scheme will begin on August 1.

Sir Derek said the Association of University Teachers' opposition to PRP was "stupid". "They're crazy. If there's an opportunity just for one year to make the odd extra million pounds to put into improving student facilities, why the hell are the AUT against it?" Helen Donoghue, AUT branch president, said: "I can't believe they are going down this road when (tax breaks on PRP schemes) are being phased out." She added that Sir Derek's letter failed to mention that participating staff would have to give up some salary. She believed PRP could pave the way for performance-related pay in the long term.

Tom Silverlock, branch secretary of Unison, said PRP was of more benefit for well-paid staff and did little for many Unison members.

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