Duo will snub Russell pay plan

August 1, 2003

Scotland's two Russell Group members, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities, are not expected to join any moves for separate policy on pay and fees, writes Olga Wojtas.

The THES last week revealed Russell Group plans to break rank on key issues, with chairman Michael Sterling, vice-chancellor of Birmingham University, predicting difficulties because of the new national academic pay spine.

But Sir Graeme Davies, principal of Glasgow, said: "(We) will be sticking with the national pay scales. There are many other factors that attract top staff to Glasgow, such as the critical mass of research expertise already concentrated here, and the quality of support we offer."

There was enough flexibility in existing pay scales to deal with supply shortages and career advancement, Sir Graeme said. "We do look at things differently in Scotland. The Scottish Executive recognises the benefits of a healthy spread of research interests across our universities, and distributes funding on this basis."

Sir Graeme said Professor Sterling's reaction was related to the political situation in England, where Westminster policy was to concentrate research funding on big, more successful institutions.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh said: "Recruiting and retaining the very best academic staff is vital for Scotland's long-term future. While this could be affected by differential funding regimes south of the border, the exact outcome is unclear as yet."

The university would look to the executive to take appropriate action, she said.

Last year, both universities came out emphatically against charging top-up fees. They said that these were inconceivable in Scotland since three of the four political parties opposed them.

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