Pay scales lack justice

February 14, 1997

ALTHOUGH the protracted pay struggle seems to be drawing to a close for another year one significant and longstanding anomaly has still not been resolved.

The THES table of pay scales in the old and new universities (THES, February 7) shows the new ceiling of the senior lecturer scale in the old universities reaching Pounds 33,202, yet senior lecturers in the new universities can only reach Pounds 28,516. Of course, those of us working in universities are aware that the senior lecturer scale in the new universities roughly equates in salary and status terms with the lecturer B scale in the old universities, while senior lecturer in the old universities equates with principal lecturer in the new universities.

Although the binary divide was supposed to have been eradicated several years ago, it appears that no one has considered equalising job titles across the old and new universities. In particular, the outside world, as well as overseas academics, are confused by the use of the term senior lecturer which has quite different meanings in the two university sectors. Whereas in the new universities senior lecturer refers to most academics, in the old universities this is a promoted position reserved for a much smaller proportion of (usually senior) staff. Perhaps it would be much more straightforward if the old universities abandoned the senior lecturer label and all senior promoted staff were called principal lecturer in both old and new universities.

Could someone please attend to this anomaly quickly and thus reduce the confusion it causes.

Tony Binns School of African and Asian studies, University of Sussex

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