Inspired by the example of angry motorists who gathered the signatures of more than a million and a half people to fight government proposals for road charging, lecturers have turned to the Downing Street website to lobby the Prime Minister for higher pay.
Academics hope to emulate the success of the car lobby, which collected 1.6 million signatories for its e-petition and considerable press coverage.
They have a long way to go, having secured just 154 backers in the first six days.
The petition's creator, Robert Webber, a senior lecturer at De Montfort University, said he did not expect to get the same level of support as the anti road-pricing petition, but he hoped that thousands would sign up in the year that the petition remains online.
He said: "It seems to have gathered apace. I suspect that it will galvanise (more) support, especially when we start negotiating for pay after the summer break."
He said he wanted the Prime Minister to respond to the petitioners as he did to the road pricing petition signatories.
Many petitions on the Downing Street website never gain as many signatories as the lecturers' call for more pay has done already. But a few, like a demand for the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice cream, have attracted thousands of supporters. Dr Webber's petition calls for lecturers' pay to keep pace with other similarly qualified professions.
The petition closes on February 20, 2008. http:///petitions.pm.gov.uk/Salaries/