Divided perks of teaching and research

November 15, 1996

The "Fat cat factor" (Leader, THES, November 8) gave good coverage of the case for a fair pay settlement in higher education. The case was made even more sharply in the appointments pages of the same issue. Among the posts advertised was one for a university teaching assistant, good honours or MSc degree required, to assist with research and perform teaching. The reward? A princely Pounds 7,000 a year. Proof indeed that the indecency of low pay is a fact of academic life.

If universities think they can deliver high-quality education by employing staff, at whatever level, on the cheap they are badly wrong. No wonder higher education staff - academic, non-teaching and manual - are prepared to take strike action to bring back fairness to pay levels in the sector. Will the employers now do the decent thing and offer staff pay that bears some semblance of reality to the jobs they do and the world they live in?

Jill Jones Natfhe

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