Reporter 404, 16 June 1997

Commission reveals pay differences

The majority of higher education staff are paid below comparable private and public sector levels according to a report on pay levels. Lack of benefits such as company cars and bonus payments widen the gap further. The Independent Pay Commission's report also states that universities and colleges, because of the number and diversity of their pay structures, are vulnerable to claims under legislation which seeks to ensure equal pay for work of equal value. The research was undertaken by Hay Management Consultants and has been submitted to Sir Ron Dearing's inquiry.

Commenting on the Commission's findings Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, said that as student numbers have increased staff have raised their productivity but it has not been matched in their pay. If the gap between public and private sector pay is not narrowed it will be difficult to attract and retain quality staff, she warned.

UNISON, the largest union in higher education, welcomed the report and said its findings were no surprise. The Universities and Colleges Employers Association's Chief Executive, Stephen Rouse, said university and college staff deserve better pay and he hopes the findings will be taken into account in Dearing's recommendations about how higher education should be funded. The Transport and General Workers' Union said it is time to "start giving proper rewards" to the people who keep universities and colleges going.

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