Senior Management Pay

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2018 Higher Education Service Group Conference
18 September 2017

Higher Education workers have undergone many years of pay restraint despite our many years of resisting and now our UK wide campaign to ‘Break the Cap’ this is not something our colleagues who are classed as senior management have had to endure.

Conference notes that the average pay of University Vice Chancellors is now £278k which is more than 6 times the average pay of staff and as our University and College Union (UCU) Comrades revealed in early 2017 more than 23 Universities increased their pay packages to senior management by 10% or more in the 15/16 period.

Conference recognises that many politicians across the political spectrum are beginning to recognise the unfairness of this situation and how out of touch some universities are on this. We can’t rely on politicians to tackle this alone, as the then Coalition Government Minister Vince Cable noted this upward drift of salaries in 2014 as has Tory Minister Jo Johnson more recently and still nothing was done.

Conference will also note with interest that the Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Education in her remit letter to the Welsh HE Funding Council (HEFCW) for 2017/18 stated that with tax payers and students making a significant contribution of income to institutions that she expects institutions to be transparent and properly accountable for the use of those funds. Conference is also interested to note that the UK Minister of State for Universities called for senior pay restraint in his letter to HEFCE.

It is important to note that senior pay is not just in reference to Vice Chancellors, there is a growing trend for staff who are not traditionally classed as senior pay recipients to be paid in excess of 100k (121 staff in University of Bristol, 129 in University of Leeds and 136 in Cardiff University).

For too long senior pay has been hidden behind the curtain of the secretive remuneration committees, it is time to bring some transparency into how what is essentially tax payers money given via student loans is spent.

Conference believes that it is immoral and manifestly unfair that our members are losing money each year due to rising living costs whilst those at the top enjoy the fruit of our labours and claim poverty when it comes to our pay claims. There is next to zero scrutiny of this largesse by government whilst at the same time rising tuition fees are burdening students with debts that will take time to clear.

Conference calls on the Higher Education Service Group Executive to action the following:

1)Implement a high profile campaign to showcase the disparity of pay between University staff and their senior management, working with other Unions where possible.

2)Seek support from UNISON Labour Link to highlight this in the UK Parliament and all devolved parliaments/assemblies noting in particular that Education is devolved in Scotland and Wales (Northern Ireland as well but no Political fund operates in that region).

3)Work with other interested campaign groups such as Citizens UK to support our campaign and increase pressure on the employers.

4)Campaign for UCEA and/or all Funding Councils to publically report annually on Senior Pay and trends to be tracked.

5)Investigate governance and transparency of University remuneration committees or other relevant bodies determining senior management pay.