The quality of RIBA employees will deteriorate unless they are given significant pay increases, Richard Murphy warned during budget discussions at last week's council.
The council members agreed to defer allocation of the 2000 budget until the next meeting in January 2000, to allow decisions on policy priorities to be made and business plans for the departments to be drawn up as appropriate.To allow the institute to keep running, council has agreed that all departments be allocated funds for the first quarter of 2000 at the same level as was allocated for the first quarter of 1999.
It has also approved an increase in staff salaries in line with the retail price index of 1.3 per cent. This is the way RIBA salary rises have been decided for the past four years. In addition, it has allocated a further £50,000 to be spent on specific salary increases to deal with anomalies, particularly to do with pension contributions. However, salaries across the country have typically risen by two per cent more than RPI, so RIBA staff are slipping behind.
Even if the extra £50,000 were distributed evenly, it would only represent an extra 1.5 per cent for each staff member. This led Richard Murphy to say: 'If we don't do something about this we will get poorer and poorer quality staff.'
Marco Goldschmied, RIBA president, said that there would be 'a global review' of salaries. But with the total salary bill of £3 million accounting for about 40 per cent of the institute's income, radical improvements will be difficult.