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Taking action in higher education

Over half universities don't pay living wage, says report

4 November 2013 | last updated: 10 December 2015

Pay gap between bosses and lowest paid workers of 15:1 is one of biggest in public sector

More than half of UK universities pay some of their staff less than the living wage and over a quarter have more than 100 staff paid less than the living wage, according to a new report released today by the National Union of Students.

The findings also reveal that university vice-chancellors earn around 15 times more than their lowest paid staff - one of the largest pay gaps in the public sector. The report comes days after thousands of university staff took a day's strike action in a row over pay.

UCU, whose members took strike action on Thursday, said the report was a timely reminder of the discrepancies between the pay of those at the top and the rest of staff in UK universities.

The bitter pay dispute with university employers centres around the trade unions' refusal to accept a 1% pay offer, which they say contributes to a real-terms pay cut of 13% since 2008. UCU said it wants to avoid disruption and called on the employers to come back to the negotiating table.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Staff in our universities have suffered real-terms pay cuts year after year, while those at the top have continued to enjoy rises. This report exposes the unfairness of pay rises for vice-chancellors when some staff are not even paid the living wage.

'We hope the employers' representatives will take note of this report and understand the anger staff feel at the pay injustices in higher education. Nobody wants to see further disruption in our universities and we hope the employers will come back to the table to deal with the problem.'

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