- 2019 Higher Education Service Group Conference
- 20 September 2018
Conference notes that there is a lot of money to be made out of Higher Education – just look at the expansion of obscenely high salaries for our Vice-Chancellors and executive managers, and the large reserves held by many universities. If you’re a cleaner, caterer, or receptionist however, you don’t get a fair share of that wealth. Many workers in Higher Education are paid so little that they have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Conference notes news reports over the last few years stating that over half of those living in poverty are living in ‘working households’, and a TUC survey found that one in eight workers is struggling to afford food, one in six has left the heating off while they’re cold in order to save money.
Conference believes poverty pay damages our workforce and we cannot accept the sinking conditions our middle and lower income members find themselves subject to.
For all the problems we have in the Higher Education sector, universities should be forces for social good. As such, this sector should resolutely reject poverty pay for anyone who works within it.
The UK is one of the richest countries in the world, and Higher Education plays an important part in powering that economy. Those who work to provide that service should not have to live in poverty.
The demand for a £10 an hour minimum wage is a popular one, and one that can galvanize support for the union. It formed a key pledge of the Labour Party manifesto in the 2017 general election, and workers at McDonald’s, organised by the Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), have even taken action for the demand. If we put the demand for £10 an hour at the centre of our pay campaigns, we will enthuse many lower paid workers to join the union and join the fight for fair pay.
This conference resolves that the Higher Education Service Group Executive should:
1)Establish an ongoing campaign to fight for a £10 per hour minimum pay level in Higher Education that runs concurrent but complements our usual pay campaigns. The campaign should focus on the social injustice of low pay.
2)Produce publicity highlighting the disparity between the lowest and highest paid in Higher Education, and how a £10 an hour minimum pay level would help begin to address that inequality.
3)3) Publicise pertinent struggles of workers in other sectors who are campaigning for better pay and an increased minimum wage, and look for ways to work with groups striving towards a £10 per hour minimum wage.
4)Work with Labour Link as appropriate to ensure that this demand is represented within the Labour Party.