No to excessive pay awards for Vice Chancellors and senior managers

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2018 Higher Education Service Group Conference
21 September 2017

This conference notes with concern and anger the current trend in Higher Education to gift Vice Chancellors (VCs) and other senior managers with obscene salaries. Times Higher Education reports that VCs at half of UK universities earned around five times the average (mean) salary of academic staff in 2015-16, and over the last few years have received pay rises well above what staff have had to fight hard for – 5.4% in 2014-15, and 2.2% in 2015-16 compared with 2% and 1% for staff. At time of writing, figures for 2016-17 are not yet available.

This conference believes that this trend is part of the growing culture of commercialisation in Higher Education; when universities are treated like businesses, leaders expect to earn big business salaries. This problem is often compounded by the lack of democracy and critique common to Boards of Governors.

We believe education is about social progress, scientific inquiry, and academic collaboration – not accumulating as much cash as possible out of students’ pockets and off the backs of hard-working staff.

Any economic value created by universities is created by their hard-working academic and support staff. We deserve a fair share of the wealth in universities. We do not believe Vice Chancellors and senior managers deserve the obscene salaries they are being awarded.

This conference instructs the Higher Education Service Group Executive to:

1)Instigate an ongoing campaign, running alongside our annual pay campaigns, against excessive senior management pay, with the following demands:

a)a maximum salary within Higher Education set at ten times that of the lowest paid member of staff;

b)a requirement that university remuneration committees publish full and unredacted minutes in order that they can be held accountable for their decisions;

c)that Boards of Governors should have more democratically elected positions and that a democratically elected representative should always be part of the recruitment panel for new VCs.

2. Seek to work jointly on this campaign with University and College Union (UCU), National Union of Students (NUS), and other Higher Education unions;

3. Work as appropriate with Labour Link to ensure that these demands are represented within the Labour Party.