Pay review better for all

November 7, 1997

I FEEL sure that the general secretary of Unison will wish to set the record straight and deny the remark attributed to a spokesperson for his union (THES, October 31) that the Association of University Teachers' goal of a pay review body would be "elitist and divisive".

AUT supports a PRB for academic and related staff because, as the historical record clearly shows, pay review produces better national pay settlements and more funding for pay than collective bargaining. It is, of course, a matter for Unison to determine whether or not it wants similar arrangements for the staff groups that it represents.

During last year's pay round, the AUT supported a differentially larger pay increase for the very low paid - hardly evidence of elitism or divisiveness. Even with this supplement, however, many low-paid workers in higher education continued to earn less than the European decency threshold. That is a disgrace and a scandal.

And academic and related staff fell further behind traditional comparators covered by pay review arrangements. That is also a disgrace and a scandal and it is why this association is absolutely determined to secure a permanent pay review body.

Alan Carr Vice president, Association of University Teachers

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