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Daily Mail wrong on university pay, says UCU

1 March 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

Responding to claims in Saturday's (27 February) Daily Mail of a 'pay boom' in higher education UCU today accused the paper of painting a false picture of the sector.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is essential that there is transparency over staff pay and benefits, however, the Daily Mail is wrong to paint the higher education sector as a huge gravy train.  Higher education is the third worst sector in the country for the number of people on short term contracts and many academics are still paid less than their equivalents in other professions.
 
'The salaries of academics in the UK are distinctly middle-of-the-road compared with rival sectors worldwide. The UK is still well behind North America and some Commonwealth countries when it comes to pay. The starting salary for a lecturer is around £29,000 and it takes lecturers around 15 years to reach £43,000. The vast majority will have completed a Masters, PHD, post doctoral research and taught for a number of years before they earn this salary.
 
'Our members do a fantastic job and deserve to be properly paid for their efforts. This type of sensationalist reporting fails to acknowledge their contribution and simply makes for lazy headlines.'
 
The union added that from 1999 to 2009, based on the government's Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), the average pay of higher education teaching professionals (HETPs) rose by 45.7%, compared with 49.7% for secondary education teaching professionals, 48.4% for public sector workers and 49.7% for all employees.

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