How much have higher education workers lost?

UNISON launches ‘salary loss calculator’ for UK university staff ahead of September’s industrial action ballot

Just how much have workers in higher education lost through years of no or very low pay rises?

A new online calculator now means UNISON members in universities and other higher education institutions across the UK can find out exactly how much years of a near pay freeze have cost them – ahead of next month’s industrial action ballot.

Union members will be asked to vote “yes” to strike action after earlier rejecting the employers’ offer of 1.1% for most staff.

Ballot papers will go to members working in higher education across the UK, whose pay is covered by national negotiations. Voting will open on 30 August and the ballot closes on 19 September.

The employers’ 1.1% offer comes after the sector recorded a surplus of £2.2bn for 2014-15 across the UK and reserves have grown by 72% to more than £21bn since 2010, while the amount spent on staffing universities fell by 3%.

The latest offer means that staff who have seen their pay squeezed since 2009 will face another year of struggling to pay household bills.

UNISON senior national officer Donna Rowe-Merriman said that vice chancellors and other senior staff aren’t feeling the squeeze.

Vice-chancellor pay rose 6.1% in 2014-15 to average £274,405 and overall there are more than 5,000 people in the sector who receive more than £100,000 a year.

“It’s time to share the success out,” says Ms Rowe-Merriman.

National secretary Jon Richards added that the scale of the surpluses being recorded in higher education – and the recent assurances from government that research funding will be protected – shows there is money available for a bigger pay increase for all staff.

He said: “We recognise that some of the lowest paid have been offered a higher percentage increase. But many of the 12,000 staff currently paid below the accredited living wage of £8.25 an hour (£9.40 in London) would still be paid less than that under this offer.

“Worse, for most university staff the current offer would already be wiped out by the recent 1% increase in national insurance.”


How much have you lost?

Check our salary loss calculator to see how much your pay has fallen behind