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Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 01:06 GMT
Lecturers demand 30% pay rise

lectrue room Many university lecturers feel under-valued

A university lecturers' union is calling for a 30% pay rise for academics over the next four years.

The Association of University Teachers (AUT) says members are looking for "firm goodwill" from their employers to make up for "serious falls" in salary levels.

The union is presenting its pay claim to university employers on Tuesday. It says the claim takes a strategic four-year look at "what must be achieved to save quality in higher education for future generations of students".

Last year the AUT staged industrial action in an attempt to secure a 10% pay rise, compared with the 3.5% offered by employers.

An institution is only as good as its staff
David Triesman, AUT General Secretary
The union also wants employers to reduce the proportion of staff on short-term contracts, and to eliminate what it claims is "pay discrimination" against female and ethnic minority staff.

AUT General Secretary, David Triesman, said: "If the academic profession ceases to attract our brainiest graduates over the next 10 years, our higher education system will slide irrevocably down the international league."

The union says that university lecturers and researchers "work harder than ever", but get no reward or recognition.

University research output has increased in quantity and quality, and over the past 20 years, the staff/student ratio has doubled, putting extra pressure on staff, it says.

'Fancy architecture'

However, it says employers have not acknowledged the additional demands on academics, increasing their pay by only 1% in real terms, compared with an increase in average earnings for non-manual employees in other professions by up to 40%.

It also points out that salary increases for a large proportion of staff in the public sector, including teachers, are decided by pay review bodies - unlike increases for lecturers.

The union is also arguing that universities are spending less on staff pay than they used to.

Mr Triesman said: "An institution is only as good as its staff. It is sad that few university employers seem to realise this.

"Fancy architecture may attract a handful of students, but it is unlikely to draw in hordes of additional applicants.

"Students are entitled to expect good departments staffed with good teachers involved in exciting research. Their expectations will be disappointed if the profession becomes any more unattractive.

"The only means of avoiding disruptive pay disputes in the future is to ensure that a catch-up award over the next four years gives university and college staff a fair deal."

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See also:
09 Dec 99 |  Education
Academics' worries over job security
11 Nov 99 |  Education
Female dons losing out on pay
31 Oct 99 |  Education
Lecturers suspend strike threat

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