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Union blasts 'blatant double standards' in university pay

19 May 2016

UCU has accused universities of 'blatant double standards' as it emerged that vice-chancellor pay rose around four times faster than pay for most academic staff in 2014-15.

UCU was responding to a survey on higher education pay published today by Times Higher Education, which revealed that the average pay rise for the majority of academic staff was just 1.3% while vice-chancellors received an average increase in their salary and benefits of 5.1%. Once large pay-outs to departing vice-chancellors are included the figure is even higher at 6.1%.

The union branded the disparity a 'disgrace' and said universities need to consider how they would continue to attract the best academic staff while pay for the majority of staff was being held down.

UCU members will be taking part in a two-day strike at universities next week as part of an ongoing pay dispute over the 1.1% pay rise offered by the employer body, the Universities and Colleges Employer Association (UCEA). The union said that this was less than universities can afford to pay and that staff pay increases should match those enjoyed by vice-chancellors.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said:

'The blatant double standards in university pay are a disgrace, and are being felt acutely by staff across the sector. Despite clear calls from government for pay restraint at the top, vice-chancellors have enjoyed bumper pay rises of over 4% on average while increases for rank and file staff are held down at barely a quarter of that.

'Average pay increases should match those enjoyed by vice-chancellors, but instead the majority of academic staff have seen the value of their pay fall by 14.5% in six years, while job insecurity is rife and there has been little progress on the gender pay gap. The 1.1% pay offer does nothing to address these issues, so it is no wonder that people are saying enough is enough and backing strike action.'

'Universities need to answer some hard questions about how they will continue to attract and retain the best talent when pay is being held down and hardworking staff are receiving such poor reward for their efforts.'

Last updated: 19 May 2016