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UCU response to Jo Johnson's speech on vice-chancellors' pay

7 September 2017

Speaking at the Universities UK conference today, universities minister Jo Johnson is expected to outline his plans to try and deal with vice-chancellors' pay.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'Soaring vice-chancellor pay has become a real embarrassment for our higher education sector. Jo Johnson is the latest in a long line of ministers to have seen previous calls for pay restraint ignored.

'Instead, vice-chancellors have hidden behind shadowy remuneration committees when it comes to their pay. Over two-thirds of vice-chancellors sit on their own remuneration committees and three-quarters of universities refuse to publish full minutes of the meetings where leadership pay is decided. 

'We need proper transparency of pay and perks in universities and the time has come for staff and student representatives on remuneration committees, as well as the full publication of the minutes.'

In 2015/16 three-quarters of universities refused to provide unredacted minutes of their remuneration committees meetings when asked by UCU through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. See page 50.

Previous research by the union revealed that over two-thirds (71%) of vice-chancellors who responded to union's FOI are either members of the university's remuneration committee or can attend (P30). Although the true figure is likely to be higher as some refused to even answer the question.

The full speech is available here.

Last updated: 20 September 2017