March 27, 2009

UCU clarifies staff pay rises as vice-chancellors go on defensive over their exorbitant rises - UK

In an article in the Times Higher Education it was stated that the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) figures used to calculate staff pay rises do not include the annual 3 per cent increment most academic staff would have received in that year and Jocelyn Prudence, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Employers' Association (UCEA), says that once this increment is taken into account, the average annual pay rise for an academic would increase to 9 per cent.

That is not the case. The HESA average salary figures do include incremental increases.

As the joint union-UCEA Review of Higher Education Finance and Pay Data of December 2008 said about HESA pay data: 'It will include the effect of any annual uplift in pay scales and additional increments or promotion increases but excludes certain additional payments.' (para 319). Therefore the average annual pay rise for an academic was in fact 5.7%. The annual rise for vice-chancellors was 9%, which took their pay, on average, up to almost £200,000.

Key figures from the survey:

  • The overall increase in vice-chancellors' pay was 9 per cent from 2006/7 to 2007/8, up from the 8 per cent increase enjoyed the previous year
  • The average pension contribution for a vice-chancellor was £26,129, a 16 per cent increase on the previous year
  • The average vice-chancellor pay was £193,970
  • Academics earned an average of £43,486 - a 5.7 per cent increase on the previous year
  • Seventy-one vice-chancellors enjoyed a salary bigger than the prime minister
  • Sixty-three vice-chancellors earned more than £200,000 and four earned more than £300,000
  • In total, the UK's heads of universities were paid over £30 million

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'As some universities call for higher university fees and staff are being warned that any pay increases may lead to redundancies, it is quite incredible and rather distasteful that vice-chancellors again enjoyed such exorbitant pay rises.

'These staff pay rises date from the middle of a three-year pay deal that we were told was at the brink of affordability. That vice-chancellors were pocketing close to twice the pay rise they begrudged staff at the time is extraordinary. It is even more disappointing that instead of trying to justify their pay they are spending their time trying to mislead the public over the figures.'


Download the full chart of Vice-Chancellors annual salaries for 2008-09, and note that some of these VCs received increases from 10-80% at at time when their institutions are implementing massive staff cuts.

No comments: