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Fat cat bosses' firms suffer more strikes, sickness and staff quitting, says report

20 January 2014

Workplaces with big pay gaps between the highest and lowest earners suffer more industrial disputes, more sickness and higher staff turnover than those with more equitable pay differentials, according to a report released today.

The High Cost of High Pay report is based on a survey of almost 2,000 workplaces and comes as members of UCU prepare for more industrial action this week in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay.
The report, from the High Pay Centre warns that bosses earning ten times more than the lowest-paid staff in their organisation experience industrial action at least once a year. Those with lower pay differentials do not. Workplaces where top earners get eight times the pay of junior staff report at least one case a year of work-related illness. Workplaces with pay differentials of five or less do not report any. Organisations with average pay ratios of 7:1 experience higher staff turnover.
On Thursday (23 January) universities across the UK will face disruption as staff stage the first of a series of two-hour walkouts, from 11am - 1pm. This latest action follows two days of strike action last year and will take place against a backdrop of UCU members already working to contract.
The industrial action has escalated after the university employers refused to improve a 1% pay offer. UCU says the latest 1% offer was an insult too far after members have seen their pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2009.
The likelihood of the dispute being resolved before the next round of industrial action looks increasingly unlikely after a string of embarrassing stories about vice-chancellors' pay shone a new light on what UCU says is the hypocrisy of those at the top enjoying huge pay increases, while pleading poverty when it comes to staff pay.
UCU pointed out that the university sector is in good financial shape and warned that if there was no breakthrough after this round of two hour stoppages then it will think about the need to further escalate its action towards a marking boycott targeted at exams.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'As universities brace themselves for more industrial action this week, it is no surprise that bosses who enjoy whopping salaries and pay rises also face greater unrest amongst an unhappy workforce.
'Our members' resolve has been strengthened in recent weeks following a glut of embarrassing stories about large pay hikes for university bosses while staff suffer real-terms pay cuts.
'University leaders would do well to take note of this report, look again at their own handsome pay rises and then get back round the negotiating table with a fair offer for staff.'
Last updated: 10 December 2015