'Embarrassing' vice-chancellor pay packets confirm need for transparency

12 November 2015 | last updated: 10 December 2015

UCU has reiterated its call for a national register of vice-chancellor pay and perks following a Daily Mail report which exposes the 'embarrassing' pay packets of university leaders.

Today's report reflects concerns previously raised by UCU that vice-chancellor pay continues to rise above inflation while front-line staff have seen their real terms pay fall substantially in recent years.

A UCU report published in March showed that vice-chancellor salaries averaged over £260,000 in 2013/14, and also exposed flagrant spending on first-class flights, hotels and other expenses. The union said that continued vice-chancellor largesse is unacceptable while more than one third of academics are on insecure, non-permanent contracts and students are paying more and more to go to university.

It added that proposals in the higher education green paper to remove Freedom of Information duties from universities would be disastrous for transparency and holding highly paid university leaders to account.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU has said for many years that the salaries and benefits enjoyed by vice-chancellors are embarrassing and completely out of control, as this new report reaffirms. As staff pay continues to fall in real terms and many academics are stuck in insecure contracts, inflation-busting salary increases at the top show that vice-chancellors are sadly out of touch.

'UCU has raised with ministers time and again the need for a national register of vice-chancellor pay and perks, and agreed standards for open and transparent governance in our universities so trust in the system can be restored. New proposals to exempt universities from freedom of information requirements would be disastrous for holding university leaders to account.'