Taking from Peter to pay PRP

October 8, 1999

Natalie Fenton's article ("Women - don't buy this line", THES, October 1) will have started alarm bells ringing for many women staff. The introduction of performance-related pay could only further widen the gap between male and female earnings.

It would also mean that women would end up paying for the reforms of higher education that were recommended by the Bett report. Performance payments would not be made in addition to any general salary increase but would replace part of that increase, as minister Estelle Morris has made very clear in the case of schoolteachers' PRP. One individual's pay increase becomes another's pay cut.

As has often been pointed out by the trade unions, academic and related staff have paid for the massive expansion of higher education since 1992 with a drastic decline in the value of their pay. The introduction of PRP would lead to a situation where women, and other groups such as part-time staff, end up paying disproportionately for the continuing lack of proper funding of pay settlements within higher education.

Susan Ashworth Senior assistant librarian Glasgow University Library

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