LETTERS: Money talks

I agree with Nick Cohen ("If you don't mind my asking...", 12 May) that many employers are over-secretive in their handling of pay information, and that individual performance-related pay can be ineffective and demotivating. However, his comparison of open and efficient, union-driven, collectively bargained systems with secretive, management-imposed cost-cutting, performance- related and personal contract approaches is over-generalised.

Traditional union-based pay structures can harbour gross inequities, support inefficient working practices and may perpetuate sexual discrimination.

Cohen ignores two of the most important pay trends: skills-based systems, paying employees for developing strategically significant skills; and team-based performance pay schemes.

Far from being in "managers' interests to keep employees in the dark", over half of companies in a Towers Perrin study are improving the information provided to employees. Money can only talk if employers let it, and the majority are aware of this.

Duncan Brown

Towers Perrin, London WC1

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