The Association of University Teachers Scotland has called on the Scottish Parliament to take a lead in Britain in setting up an independent pay review.
The AUTS yesterday held the first lobby of the Scottish Parliament, flagging a motion that seeks support for a pay review, tabled by Liberal Democrat MSP Donald Gorrie, and backed by Scottish National Party MSP George Reid.
It says the review is needed "to maintain academic pay at the level necessary to continue to develop the quality of Scotland's world-class universities".
David Bleiman, assistant general secretary of the AUT, has told enterprise and lifelong learning minister Henry McLeish that there is clear majority support in the Scottish Parliament for independent pay review, and that there is no reason to await legislative developments south of the border.
"Where Scotland leads, Westminster may follow,'' he said.
But the union's continuing aim is a pay review body for the whole of Britain. While the AUTS concedes that the Scottish Parliament has the power to set up an exclusively Scottish pay review system, this is not its preferred option. It warns that a Scotland-only solution would intensify pressure on the parliament's budget, since it would not draw in any extra cash under the Barnett formula, which governs public spending.
Mr Bleiman told Mr McLeish that this was a "compelling reason" to strive for a UK-wide solution.
"Scotland will attract Barnett formula funding, if any outcomes of pay review apply in England as well as Scotland."