Fair pay should be on display

April 7, 1995

The stark facts about how lecturers' pay increases have lagged behind those of school teachers and other groups since 1979 (THES, March 31) apply no less to academic staff in the new universities and colleges whose salary negotiations remain separate from those in the old universities.

In the new universities about 80 per cent of teachers are on the lecturer/senior lecturer scale -Pounds 12,756-Pounds 26,223. According to the School Teachers' Review Body 1995 report a similar proportion of secondary teachers are now paid in the range Pounds 20,145-Pounds 28,191.

Even within the combined HE sector anomalies exist, mainly to the disadvantage of academic staff in the new universities. From the last available data for the former polytechnic sector (1992), only 21 per cent of staff were on the promoted, principal lecturer grade. This compares with 37 per cent of staff on the promoted (senior lecturer) grade in the old universities, which rises to 48 per cent when professors are included (1993 data).

Good luck to the Association of University Teachers in its negotiations with the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association, but let us remember that the new universities have delivered most of the productivity gains in HE. A comparability study should resolve problems within the sector as well as offering fair rewards to all lecturers. In the medium term a pay review body would seem the best way to avoid the flawed negotiating models proposed by the UCEA that seek to abolish national agreements.

Neil Macfarlane

National chairman, AUCL

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