Splashing the cash on everything but university support staff

As members in higher education prepare to strike tomorrow (3 December), the University of West England’s recently published accounts shows that their vice-chancellor has taken a firm line on pay and received a salary increase of just 1%.

However, the accounts also show that he was also paid a £24,158 “performance-related bonus” on top of his salary (and pension costs of £37,468).

The total salary and reward package for the vice chancellor for 2012-3 rose to £314,632 – more than 16% up on the same reward package recorded in the accounts for the previous year 2011-2.

Over the last three years, staff numbers have fallen, leaving the remaining employees to work harder – still delivering excellent services for students – yet taking a real terms pay cut of over 13% over five years.

The university states that it is prudent with its cash reserves and sees challenges ahead.

At the same time, though, it has chosen to invest in a 21,000-seater football stadium that will be the new home of Bristol Rovers FC, together with a large number of capital development projects, including a new £50 million business school and a central plaza and transport hub with landscaping and walkways.

The university is investing in capital projects, its highest-paid staff and senior managers – but will not invest in the people that actually deliver the student experience.

And at the same time as it has announced that it has added another £9.2m to its reserves, staff are seeing an increase in car parking costs and being charged up to 0.6% of their salary to be allowed a parking permit.

UNISON national secretary Jon Richards said: “UNISON members are preparing to strike on 3 December.

“They see the injustice of a well-resourced university sector splashing their cash on flashy buildings and highly-paid senior staff, while ignoring the vast majority of staff who are the bedrock of the sector.

“While the lower-paid staff see real-terms pay cuts of over 13%, university senior managers can still find a way to line their pockets.”

Key issue: higher education industrial action

UNISON in education

UNISON South West