Not taking it any more

September 26, 1997

MEDICAL doctors' groups asking for a further 10 per cent pay rise on top of their recent inflation-busting salary increases justify their claim by asking for parity with other professionals. As a potential university lecturer it is only too apparent to me that they are not asking for parity with one particular group of professionals.

As doctors present their case strongly and receive rises, lecturers continually accept rises that actually amount to pay cuts. Even as public sector employees, doctors have no qualms about demanding salaries commensurate with their contribution to society.

Why is it that lecturers, as a group, seem so unconvincing in a demand for a decent salary commensurate with their societal contribution? Is it an old-school attitude that means nobody makes a fuss as the next pay "award" is announced?

Is it that the unions cannot get the impetus to change the status quo because the lecturers themselves do not actually believe they deserve such salaries? And is it just upstart youngsters like me who think the profession is depressingly underpaid and if that is my attitude should I look elsewhere for a career anyway?

Brian Amos New York University

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