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June, 2014:

High earners – the pay gap widens

UCU, UNISON and Unite today published an update of the 2012 High Earners Report .   The headline of the report is that the gap between the pay of high earners and everybody else has grown significantly since 2012.  

Petition to members of University Council calling for fairness, openness and accountability

We call on members of the University Council to re-assert its control over the decisions it has delegated to its Remuneration Committee. We further call on members of the Council to ensure that the decisions made by its Remuneration Committee are consistent with principles of fairness, transparency and accountability.


72 signatures

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Publication of the updated report coincided with the annual meeting of the University Remuneration Committee.  This is the committee that agrees the pay of the Vice Chancellor and other high earners at the University.     UCU, UNISON and Unite have also written again to members of the University Remuneration Committee in advance of its annual meeting.

You can add your name to the letter to be presented to members of University Council, the governing body of the University at its meeting on 10th July, calling for greater fairness, openness and accountability in the operation of the University Remuneration Committee




Use of metrics in research assessment

A HEFCE consultation is underway on the potential use of metrics in research assessment. This is a potentially very damaging development for multiple reasons. Paul Kirby and I have written a response to the consultation  .   If you would like to add your name as an endorsement please email me by June 28th.

Dr Meera Sabaratnam
Lecturer in International Relations
Room 4413, Main Building, Department of Politics & International Studies
SOAS, University of London,


How open are university open days ?

The three unions representing staff at the university have written to Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching):

Dear Bernie

We will be advising prospective students who visit next Thursday’s Open Day to ask a number of questions at all the universities they are visiting before deciding which to apply to.

We thought you might want to see the kinds of questions we will be suggesting prospective students ask here and elsewhere, so that you have a chance to brief staff on how to respond to these.

  • How much of my teaching will be delivered by staff employed on zero hours and temporary contracts ?
  • What is the staff-student ratio at the university?
  • Does the University pay the Living Wage to all staff it employs, including staff on casual contracts?
  • If I take a job working at the University while I am a student will I be paid the Living Wage ?
  • Are the guides who show me around the university paid a Living Wage?
  • What is the ratio of the Vice Chancellor’s annual salary to the pay of the lowest paid members of staff?
  • What will this university do if proposed cuts to Disabled Student Allowance are implemented in 2015 ?
  • Does this university want to see tuition fees rise above their current level of £9000 a year?
  • Does this university believe that student loans should be sold to a private company?
  • What would this university do if its students had the terms and conditions of their loans changed for the worse AFTER they had started the degree programme?

on behalf of UCU, UNISON, Unite

Update:  UCU national have used our letter to produce a national leaflet for use at Open Days across the country


Disabled Student Allowance under threat

Last week the TUC Disabled Workers’ Conference supported UCU’s emergency motion calling for a campaign against the ‘modernisation’ (abolition) of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). A day of action has been called on by the National Union of Students (NUS) on Friday 6 June 2014.

DSA is a vital support for many disabled students, helping many to access education. Students receiving DSA are more likely to reach a first or upper class second honours degree than disabled students who do not receive an allowance.

At a time when the government has already made savage cuts to disabled people?s benefits and cuts to local government funding, we cannot let this continue.

What you can do…. (more…)

HE members called on to support FE staff in Lambeth College dispute

UCU Congress also called on all members to support the action of staff at Lambeth College who are taking indefinite strike action in defence of their contracts of employment.   Changes to contracts include loss of 2 weeks holiday, cuts to sickness pay and extra working hours for no pay. You can find out more here and sign the petition in support of their action.

Strong support from UCU Congress for Bath moves on VC pay and tuition fees

There was overwhelming support for Bath motions at last week’s UCU Congress in Manchester. (more…)