19 April 2010

Vice Chancellor's Pay Increases: Wage Restraint Urged on Academics

Cuts, what cuts? University vice-chancellors' pay up by 10%

Despite funding cuts of £900m which threaten 14,000 academic posts vice-chancellors pay and benefits rose by 10.6% last year

Read this article here

Meanwhile the UCU is is worried about a public sector pay freeze.

"David Willetts, Conservative shadow minister for universities, told Times Higher Education that his party "believes universities need to hold down their pay costs" and would "work with Hefce" on the "exact mechanisms" to achieve this.

He added: "Universities would find it very hard to explain to students and their families if costs were going up because of pay increases much greater than the rest of the economy was enjoying."

Read about this here.

I'm not worried about this. There should be a pay freeze, especially among the higher earners. Isn't the problem rather that wage restraint is being urged on the lower earners while at the top deputy vice-chancellors, such as Malcom McVicar are making statements like these:

"There is an international market for senior university executives and academics; if the UK is to grow and succeed, we must be allowed to compete. Simply, if we don't pay appropriate salaries, we won't get decent people to run or teach in the universities." Read more here.

This argument can't be used only for Senior Executives and Senior Academics. If it applies to them, it also applies to academics and to skilled support staff further down the pay scales. After all, in the final analysis a university without jobbing academics is not one. Surely what we need in these times is a demonstration of wage restraint from senior managment.


Kathz said...

It's not just skilled support staff who need higher wages. I'd happily take a wage freeze - even a modest cut in wages - if I knew that decent wages and job security were being offered to a range of valuable members of the university community: hourly-paid part-timers (some of whom have been working at the same university for years - and who find it hard to earn more than £10,000 a year while teaching as much as is feasible) but also cleaners, porters, estates staff, caterers etc. who are vital to the smooth running of the university but often invisible. I'm still shocked by Sheffield Hallam's proposal to cut the pay of cleaning and catering staff and the university's threat to reclaim money already paid to them as wages. Any university functioning as a proper community should respect the roles plaid by everyone working there - and be willing to involve all staff in the university's activities and social life.

I'm also uneasy about watching students getting into debt so that I can teach them. I'd rather they were able to achieve a debt-free education, even if that meant my pay was lower.

I think the key question is the old-fashioned idea of equality.