Pay review body is vital

September 26, 1997

I AGREE with John Ashworth (THES, September 19) that the primary task of the Dearing report was to address university funding, and that the Government must be pressed to rise to Dearing's challenge in its white paper.

I also agree that the threesecond-order issues - research support, teaching effectiveness and regional differentiation - identified by Ashworth areimportant.

However, I am astonished that the running sore of salary determination machinery finds no place in his top four priorities, notwithstanding his observation that "the universities and their staffs have been very patient over the past decade when they have delivered all that has been asked of them without much recognition or any financial reward".

As Dearing noted, the present machinery produced chaos last year.

If it persists, it will produce national chaos again.

If anyone thinks that a shift towards local bargaining will produce anything other than widespread local chaos, they are deluding themselves.

No one wants this. The only civilised solution is a pay review body.

This has the potential not only for delivery of fair academic salaries, but also for attracting the increased funding from government that the United Kingdom's higher education system so desperately needs.

Why should university staff always have to queue behind those who already have review bodies?

P.K. Burgess Immediate past presidentAssociation of UniversityTeachers Northumberland St, London

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