HE pay dispute: what’s it all about?

Wednesday 18-05-2016 - 12:10

On Wednesday 25 May and Thursday 26 May 2016, members of the University and College Union (UCU) are taking industrial action in response to the 1.1 per cent pay offer made by the employer body, UCEA. 

What is the HE pay dispute about?

The 1.1 per cent pay offer made by UCEA falls far below what the universities can afford to offer their staff and fails to acknowledge the following points;

1. Loss in the value of pay
Since 2009, the cumulative loss to staff pay (compared to rises in RPI) is 14.5 per cent. If inflation increases as predicted then by the end of this year the total real terms decline in staff pay since 2009/10 could be as high as 17.5 per cent.

2. Shameful pay inequality
Inequality in UK higher education is shameful with a gender pay gap of 12.6 per cent (a difference of £6,103 per year) amongst academic staff in 2013/14. The total gender pay gap currently stands at a staggering £528 million

3. The scandal of casualisation
75,000 university staff are on highly casualised ‘atypical' academic contracts (at least 21,636 are zero- hours contracts). 67 per cent of research staff are still on fixed term contracts more than 10 years since the fixed-term regulations came into force with around a third of these are contracts being 12 months or less.

4. Significant rise of vice-chancellor, principal and senior pay
High levels of remuneration, lack of transparency and oversight have angered university staff. In 2013/14 the average vice-chancellor salary for was £260,290 and, on average, vice-chancellors were paid 6.4 times more than the average salary of staff.

5. Affordability – and the choices intuitions make
The sector has over £1 billion in operating surpluses, but at the same time staff costs as a percentage of expenditure have fallen by 1.2 per cent. The fact is that university management are spending lots of money on buildings and increasing revenues and they are doing it at expense of their staff.

For any further information on the UCU strike action please visit UCU's website or download NUS' briefing.



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