Pay review or a strike?

February 21, 1997

TONY BINNS cites just one of the anomalies in the titles and pay of academics in different types of institution (THES, February 14). The top points of the main and promoted scales in the new universities are some Pounds 500-600 higher than in the old, but the former are disadvantaged by: lower starting salaries on both scales, smaller increments and slower progression, overlap between main and promoted scales, and no discretionary points.

But the most glaring discrepancy between the two types of institution lies in the proportion of promoted posts. Principal lecturers comprise about 20 per cent of lecturers in the new universities, compared with about 40 per cent on the equivalent (senior) lecturer grade in the old universities, or nearer 50 per cent when professors are included. Hence average academic pay is significantly lower in the new institutions.

The UCEA has made no attempt to unify salary systems across higher education. Hence an independent pay review body seems the only appropriate mechanism to resolve both the shortfall in academic salaries and the anomalies between the different types of institution. It is therefore profoundly depressing to see CVCP/UCEA representatives resort to dissembling their commitment to the principle of independent pay review.

Neil Macfarlane

Chairman, AUCL

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