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July, 2015:

“I’m worth it” – Vice Chancellor defends her enormous pay increases

As we have done each year since 2011, campus unions wrote to members of the University Remuneration Committee before their annual meeting on 9th July.   We have not so far heard back from the Remuneration Committee, and its decisions were not reported to its parent body – University Council – which met later the same day.

In a newspaper interview, Vice Chancellor Glynis Breakwell has defended the enormous pay rises she has received in the last eight years.   Using words that will inflame most people working in higher education she said  “I’m worth it.   I’ve been in the job a long time and you do tend to get increases over time in most jobs.”  Most people working in HE have seen  the value of their pay fall by 15% in the last eight years.

UCU is challenging the Vice Chancellor’s refusal to disclose her expenses, in line with disclosures made by most other Vice Chancellors, and published recently in the national UCU report Transparency at the Top.

Bath UCU at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival

Bath UCU at Tolpuddle 2015


Last weekend members from Bath UCU joined colleagues from other HE and FE branches in the South West at the Tolpuddle Martyr’s Festival in Dorset. Every year thousands of people visit Tolpuddle to celebrate trade unionism and to remember the sacrifice made by the Tolpuddle Martyrs. The event features three days of music, political discussion and debate, poetry, comedy and a large parade of union banners on the Sunday.  (more…)

Nursery fees set to increase by 3.5%

The university has announced big increases in nursery fees with a promise of further increases in the future.

UCU members reject 1% pay offer

Members have rejected the employers’ 1% pay offer for 2015. With private sector pay deals approaching 3% and members facing increased pensions contributions from April 2016, the 1% offer will mean a further cut in the value of our pay.   UCU will write to the Universities and Colleges Employers Associate (UCEA) and invoke the New JNCHES dispute resolution procedure.

Students and graduates hit hard by budget changes

Students from the poorest families will leave university owing “substantially more” to the government than their richer peers, warns analysis of changes to student funding in the budget released today.  UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: ‘the government has created a situation where the poorest students that aspire to university will have to take on much larger debts and be hit with bigger annual repayments once they graduate.”

Bath Vice Chancellor Glynis Breakwell has publicly expressed her support for the Government’s plan to scrap maintenance grants and extend loans.   In the past she has also supported calls for increases in tuition fees.

The British Universities Directors of Finance Group adds in its recent briefing:

“In a week in which universities minister Jo Johnson confirmed the details of student support packages for 16/17, a briefing note from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that the average student debt owed by graduates from poorer backgrounds could hit £53,000 following the changes to student loans outlined in the recent budget. The briefing note explains how the increase, from an average of £40,500 under the current system, will result from the moves to replace maintenance grants with loans, and freeze the loan repayment threshold.

The study also found that government finances will not be much better off in the long-term as a higher proportion of graduates from poorer backgrounds do not repay their debt in full, and so much of the extra amount lent will not be repaid. IFS estimates put the short-term reduction in national account spending at £2bn a year, but only £270million actually saved per cohort over the lifetime of the loans. There is further analysis of the figures on the BBC website and in the Times Higher.

In related news, Jeremy Corbyn MP, a candidate for the Labour leadership, has proposed to launch a policy of scrapping tuition fees altogether if he becomes Labour leader, and replacing them with grants. “