Russell Group response to September retail price index
14 October 2008
Responding to the announcement of the 5% retail price index (RPI) for September, linked to the final phase of the current 2006-09 pay agreement for the higher education sector, Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt, said:
"Russell Group universities operate professional employment policies and practices including modern, competitive and fair pay and reward systems - systems which have been strengthened in recent years - to ensure we can attract and retain the most talented staff in a global market. We aspire to work closely with the trade unions to recognise and reward excellence.
"Our staff have in recent years enjoyed some of the best pay increases across both the private and public sectors as a result of the nationally negotiated 15% pay rise for 2006-09. The cost has been significant. When other factors such as pay modernisation and natural progression up the pay spine are taken into account, the total increase in pay costs for many institutions has approached 24%. Universities also contribute a further 14.6% of salary to a final-salary pension scheme.
"All Russell Group universities will honour the 06-09 negotiations and fully implement the final phase of the pay deal. However, the deal agreed in 2006 was already at the limit of affordability for many HE institutions and this final phase, linked to the extraordinarily high retail price index, will place a considerable strain on already stretched university finances. When combined with other financial pressures, including rising energy costs, this will inevitably impact on future national pay and pension negotiations."