HC Deb 31 March 1969 vol 781 cc18-9
19. Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity if, following her acceptance of the criteria laid down in the Doctors' and Dentists' Tenth Report, she will now invite the National Board for Prices and Incomes to re-examine the pay of university teachers.

Mr. Harold Walker

No, Sir. The National Board for Prices and Incomes keeps the pay of university teachers under continuous review on the basis of a Standing Reference under Section 3 of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966, and the Board will initiate a further review when it judges this to be appropriate.

Mr. Moonman

Because of the suspicion, anger and conflict in the universities arising from the Government's action on their salary claim, and because many university teachers feel that they have had a raw deal whereas the doctors have managed to get away with it, will my hon. Friend consider the possibility of giving urgent attention to a new salary structure and negotiating machinery for university teachers?

Mr. Walker

This question is currently being considered by the Minister of State for the Department of Education and Science who, at their request, has had exploratory discussions, without commitment by anybody, about the machinery for settling university academic salaries with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Association of University Teachers. I cannot anticipate the outcome of the discussions, which will take some time.

Sir E. Boyle

Is it not a fact that not only university teachers but right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House were highly critical of the result of that standing reference and thought that it ought to come to an end? Can the Minister assure the House that not only the Minister of State, whose efforts we all know about, but the whole Government machinery, including the right hon. Lady's Department, is currently and urgently examining the future of university salaries and the possibility of negotiating machinery?

Mr. Walker

Yes, I can give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance, and my Department is associated with the discussions to which I have referred.