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Controversy over university bosses' pay hikes

2 January 2014 | last updated: 10 December 2015

University vice-chancellors were awarded controversially high pay rises while staff received a real-terms pay cut, according to figures released today. UCU said the revelations were likely to anger university staff who have already taken two days of strike action in a row over their pay.

University bosses at Russell Group universities enjoyed a salary rise of more than £22,000 to nearly £293,000 in 2012-13, according to analysis of 19 of the group's 24 members by Times Higher Education.
 
When pension payments are included the vice-chancellors received an average package of £318,500 - up from £302,500 in 2011-12. That represents an average salary hike of 8.1 per cent and a 5.2 per cent rise in overall benefits.
 
Staff received a pay rise of just 1% that year and have seen their pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2009. As well as walking out twice last term in the increasingly bitter pay row, UCU members are currently working to contract. Members of Unison, Unite and the EIS trade unions have also walked out in the row and, unless a resolution can be found, more action is expected this year.
 
University and College Union general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'It is the startling hypocrisy that grates more than the actual rises. Many vice-chancellors have talked down to their staff and told them to accept a 1% rise - representing yet another real-terms pay cut - as it is the best they can expect, while happily pocketing big sums themselves.
 
'Few people have ever bought the lie that we are all in this together, but these revelations are as insulting as they are unfair. With further disruption set for the new year, if the dispute is unresolved, these controversial rises will galvanise union members who are determined to fight for fair pay.'
 
More on the university pay row

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