Relations fraught as pay ladder plan halted

June 28, 2002

Industrial relations in universities face meltdown after trade unions and employers failed to progress plans for a new career ladder, a week after unions rejected a 2.5 per cent pay offer, writes Phil Baty.

One union chief said relations were close to the worst he had ever witnessed after a meeting last week of the joint working group, set up to agree plans for a single pay and job-grading structure. He said employers failed to put any clear plan on the table. The working group aims to agree the ladder for every employee, from cleaners to professors.

The academic unions want four job grades for academic staff - from entry-level grade to principal - lecturer grade - and fewer pay increments, or rungs, separating each grade. Academics currently have to climb more than 20 rungs before they reach the top of the principal-lecturer grade.

Jocelyn Prudence, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, said it was a fallacy that the group was not making progress.

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