Get tough on pay

February 1, 2002

Two cheers for your leader ("Time is right for a tough stand on pay catch-up", THES , January 25).

Much of the cost of university expansion has indeed been paid for by staff. A salary increase of 13 per cent is long overdue. However, such an increase would need to be repeated at least twice before catch-up (let alone historical rectification) could be achieved.

But is this macho 1970s language really appropriate? Other professionals, such as politicians, civil servants, and vice-chancellors, have had great success in keeping ahead of inflation. Has "standing tough" been the secret of their success? Not a bit of it.

Pay review bodies, or their equivalent, have ensured adequate funding for their professional salaries without the need for endless aggravation. Why can university staff not have the same?

A chronic problem requires a long-term solution. Now, there is something worth taking a tough stand on.

P. K. Burgess
Department of psychology
Dundee University

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