While I agree wholeheartedly with Amanda Hart of Natfhe about the need to redress the erosion of academic salaries (THES, letters, October ) I am less sanguine that a one-off independent pay review is a feasible solution.
The days of the Houghton (1974) and Clegg (1979) reviews are far off, existing only as a folk memory for most staff.
In universities, new and old, collective bargaining over a period of years has left staff needing rises of some 40 per cent to catch up with comparable professions. Ms Hart rightly refers to the shadow of the Treasury over public sector pay, but staff in the new universities have additionally suffered the leaden hand of the Polytechnic and Colleges Employers Forum and latterly the Universities and Colleges Employers Association steering the Department for Education and Employment/Treasury course.
Steve Rouse of the UCEA (THES, letters, October 20) correctly points out the difficulties caused to education authorities, school and teachers by the unwillingness of the Government to fund last year's award by the relevant pay review body. However, abuse of the system by one party in this instance does not indicate that it is terminally flawed, rather than the Government was prepared to take a political risk.
It remains the case that the pay of school-teachers, doctors, dentists, the forces and others covered by independent pay review bodies has broadly kept pace with the rise in average earnings, while that of academics patently has not. Hence the Association of University and College Lecturers, along with the Association of University Teachers, seeks such a body to determine academic pay.
Neil Macfarlane, National chairman, AUCL