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Vice-chancellors' pay needs proper scrutiny says lecturers' union

22 February 2007

UCU said today that the results of a survey of vice-chancellors' pay sent out the wrong message to staff.

The annual survey of vice-chancellors' pay from the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) reveals that vice-chancellors enjoyed an average pay rise of 7.9 per cent from 2004/5 to 2005/6 and that many benefited from generous one off payments.

The union is concerned that vice-chancellors' pay goes largely unchecked and there appears to be no clear principles that determine how big the rises are or why they are awarded. Academic staff are subjected to much greater scrutiny in terms of their pay and UCU believes vice-chancellors should not be immune to such analysis. The union is calling for much greater transparency and clear guidelines that outline why vice-chancellors receive the rises they do.

Key figures from the THES survey:

  • The overall increase in vice-chancellors' pay was 7.9 per cent from 2004/5 to 2005/6.
  • The largest increase (of 31.7 per cent) was enjoyed by Professor Janet Finch, vice-chancellor at Keele University.
  • Forty-three vice-chancellors now earn more than the prime minister (£185,771 at 1.6.06) - an increase of 10 from 33 last year.
  • Thirty-four of them earn £200,000 or more - almost double the previous year's figure of 18.
  • Ten received one off pension or termination payments.

UCU joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'At a time when the whole sector needs to unite around defending academic values, securing better funding and maintaining our proud world class teaching and research, the handsome rewards for those at the top threaten this vital unity and send exactly the wrong message to university staff.

'Their pay rises come in a year when staff workloads have continued to increase, class sizes have remained unacceptably high and job security remains a distant aspiration for thousands of fixed-term or hourly-paid academic and related staff. Education professionals are working the longest hours of unpaid overtime in any profession and this puts enormous pressure on the balance between home and work life.

'It is vital that universities ensure there is proper scrutiny of vice-chancellors' pay and pension provision if we are to avoid suspicions of one law for those at the top and another for the rest.'

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