Lecturers' pay lags behind schoolteachers'

March 31, 1995

Salaries for university academics have risen by less than half the rate for school teachers since 1979.

While the average increase in earnings was 37 per cent for all employees between April 1979 and April 1994, academics' pay rose by per cent and school teachers' by 60 per cent.

Earnings for teachers in further education colleges rose by 31 per cent in real terms in the same period, as measured by the new earnings survey.

The figures were released in a Commons written answer to Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield, before the Universities and Colleges Employers Association met yesterday to discuss an Association of University Teachers' bid for an annual 5 per cent rise.

AUT general secretary David Triesman said: "The figures will come as no surprise to anyone in a university. This is despite repeated Government promises to reward productivity, while in practice continuing to cut. Our policy is to press for a nationally funded pay review body which, had one been in place since 1979, would not have left university lecturers languishing at the bottom of the list."

UCEA chief executive Stephen Rouse said: "The major change has been brought about by the Government's decision to create a statutory pay review body for school teachers. If present trends continue, it shows if people were following financial interests they would rather become schoolteachers than academics.

Mr Rouse added that CVCP's commitment to the pay review body was so old that it was proposed before the CVCP's merger with the Committee of Directors of Polytechnics. He said: "If it was reviewed again, I would make a guess that, now the Government has made a laughing stock of review bodies by approving recommendations but declining to fund them, I would have thought any policy review by CVCP would conclude that this way lies financial disaster."

A meeting last week of specialist AUT members, including librarians, administrators and computer staff, was joined by academic staff to debate the UCEA's proposals for changing their pay structure. The UCEA is asking for their views on four options for the future shape of pay and conditions negotiations. They called for the maintenance of a unified pay structure and the continuance of national bargaining on pay and conditions for all staff. Action being considered, if these areas come under threat, includes motions to all university bodies and a campaign of E-mailing vice chancellors on a regular basis.

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