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Pay Claim 2014

University of Southampton refuses requests for information on V-C pay and perks

Colleagues may be interested to read this press release that was issued by UCU on 4 March 2015


The University of Southampton has refused to answer basic questions about its vice-chancellor’s pay and perks, according to a new report released today (Wednesday).

The University and College Union (UCU) issued a series of FOI requests in order to try and learn more about the shadowy world of senior pay and perks in UK universities. The union contacted 155 institutions and the University of Southampton was one of only seven that didn’t respond*.

However, the university’s accounts show that Professor Don Nutbeam was the 23rd most highly paid UK university vice-chancellor in 2013/14. He received £320,000, which put him comfortably above the average vice-chancellor’s pay of £260,290.

The union’s report detailed university bosses spending up to £60,000 a year on luxury air fares and heads of institutions racking up hefty hotel bills and annual expenses. But no expenditure figures were received from the University of Southampton.

In an attempt to obtain more details of the rationale for senior salaries, UCU also requested a copy of the most recently ratified minutes of the remuneration committee – the committee tasked with determining the pay of the vice-chancellor. The University of Southampton also failed to provide a copy of its remuneration committee minutes.

UCU regional official, Moray McAulay, said: ‘The University of Southampton is one of only a few universities in the UK that did not provide any of the information we requested making it one of our most secretive. You do have to wonder what it is they want to hide.

‘Overall, it’s a chaotic state of affairs where some institutions are open and honest while others use whatever means they can to avoid revealing information of spending at the top. We need a national system that will bring in obligations for higher education institutions to be transparent about their spending.’ 


 Local contact:

Moray McAulay m: 07766 251 863; e:

National UCU contact:

Vicky Wilks t: 020 7756 2601; m: 07977 562 686; e:  


IMPORTANT: Information on strike action Thursday 6 Feb and feedback from 28 Jan


Firstly a big thank you to all of you who supported the second 2-hour walk-out on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a great day of action with around 50 members occupying the Arlott Bar for a teach-in.  Members joined in lively discussions on various important issues in higher education, including recruitment and retention at the University and concerns for the future of HE, and we rounded the strike off with a tribute to folk singer and activist Pete Seegar with a rendition of “Union Maid”.   Many of you who weren’t able to attend the teach-in withdrew your labour by cancelling classes and meetings and just absenting yourselves from your workplaces – we would ask that you help us show what impact the action is having by completing this very short survey:

A reminder that the next 2-hour walk-out is planned for Monday 10 February from 9.00 – 11.00 am.  Further details on this to follow.


Secondly you will all be aware of the next full day of strike action planned for Thursday 6 February.  This involves all three campus trade unions – UCU, UNISON and Unite – as well as the Scottish union EIS.  We are currently planning our joint local strategy and will be meeting with sister unions later this week.  Once we have firm plans in place we will send these out to you.  In the meantime we would ask you to:

Publicise the Pay Campaign as widely as possible within your department/academic unit by printing out and displaying the attached posters/leaflets.  These are intended to get students and non-members thinking about the action, so the more people that see these, the better.

*Poster 1

*Poster 2

*Leaflet 1:

*Leaflet 2:

Talk to students and colleagues about the action and explain why you are taking part.

Sign the online petition calling for University management to urge UCEA to return to the negotiating table

We are aware that University management are continuing to send out Faculty-wide emails asking that “union members who intend to take strike action inform their line manager by email or writing as soon as possible”.  We would reiterate that you do NOT have to alert your line manager about your decision to take strike action in advance.  When asked afterwards, however, you MUST answer truthfully.  See UCU strike FAQs here:


 Thirdly, as part of the ongoing dispute, we would like to remind members that we are still working to contract – further information on what this means and how you can support this action can be found here:

Thanks for your continued support

Southampton UCU

Information for Thursday’s action

Dear members,

A reminder that we are taking industrial action on Thursday 23 January between 11am and 1pm in support of the campaign for Fair Pay in HE.  ALL MEMBERS should withdraw their labour between these hours.

We will be gathering at the UCU office at 47 University Road promptly at 11AM.  Please join us to show your support for the campaign.  We have placards, flyers and other materials for distribution on the day.  

As this is a new form of action for us, UCU has prepared a useful FAQ on the website.  The document summarises various useful points about this type of action, so please have a read:

We’ve also produced a series of posters and information sheets and would ask that you print these out and display in your department/academic unit.

*Poster 1
*Poster 2
*Leaflet 1:
*Leaflet 2:

On Thursday please do the following:

  • Set up an out of office message during the 2 hour strike.  Something like this  – “I am currently taking industrial action in support ofUCU’s campaign for Fair Pay in HE and not able to deal with your email.  I will be back at my desk after the action concludes.”
  • Print out the  “On strike desk poster” (sent to you by email) and pin on your door/computer/workstation which states that you are currently on strike.
  • Come along to the picket lines.

 Throughout the upcoming period of action please do the following:

  •  Talk to students and colleagues about the action and explain why you are taking part.
  •  If you have ideas for future actions or would like to get more involved, tell us!
  • Please distribute our new joint trade union newsletter, Southampton Solidarity (sent to you via email), to your students and colleagues

Further points of clarification:

  • Members at Avenue, NOCS and other University sites, please come join us at Highfield!  This action should be a good opportunity for us to convene in one place, discuss issues facing staff at the University and plan for our next action.
  • Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, remember that you are NOT under any obligation to tell your line manager about your decision to participate in the strike action prior to the action itself.  You must respond truthfully if and only if you are asked afterward.


Eric Silverman
Southampton UCU President

Strike action is on at the University of Southampton



date: Monday 2 December 2013

for immediate release

Strike on at University of Southampton tomorrow

Staff at the University of Southampton will be on strike tomorrow (Tuesday 3 December) as members of the University and College Union (UCU) take action in a row over pay.

Staff will be on picket lines at University Road and Highfield Road in Southampton and will then make their way to a rally at 12.30pm at the Students Union Piazza, Highfield Campus. See map here –

At the University of Southampton, staff are particularly angry that the Vice Chancellor, Professor Don Nutbeam, has seen his salary increase by £66,000 in the past four years*.

In the financial year that ended on 31 July 2012, the Vice-Chancellor’s salary was £277,000, of which £40,000 was a one-off non-pensionable performance payment. Lecturers have highlighted that as stand-alone payments, both Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus and pension contribution are greater than the annual salary of many lecturers and academics working at the university. A member of the cleaning staff on Grade 1 would have to work nearly three years to earn the equivalent of Professor Nutbeam’s annual bonus or pension contribution.

Lectures will be cancelled across England as lecturers walk out. Following on from a pay offer of just 1% this year from the employer’s representatives Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA), staff are angry that as the cost of living has risen, lecturers’ pay has been slashed by more than 13% in real terms since 2009.   

The union’s negotiators have offered to clear their diaries in an effort to resolve the dispute before Tuesday’s strike and the union says it hopes strike action can be avoided. However, UCU added that lecturers were making it clear enough was enough when it came to keeping down their pay.

Eric Silverman, UCU President and Full Time Research Fellow at the University of Southampton, said: “Staff at the University of Southampton have seen their pay slashed in real terms since 2009. This year’s miserly pay offer, at a time of rising bills and increased pension contributions, was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And as we can see, those at the top have enjoyed more than generous pay increases.

“Staff love their jobs, but their goodwill cannot continue to be taken for granted. We hope the employers’ representatives will meet with us in an effort to resolve this dispute before Tuesday. Nobody wants to take strike action and lose a day’s pay, but lecturers need to take a stand about year on year real terms pay cuts.”

UCU members in colleges will join their colleagues and members of Unison, Unite and the EIS who are on strike in universities across the UK on strike on 3 December. Staff in universities are taking a second day of strike action over a ‘derisory’ 1% pay offer from their employers, which represents a 13% drop in real-terms pay for university staff over five years. More on that dispute here


*Professor Don Nutbeam was appointed vice-chancellor at the University of Southampton in 2008. He took up his post the following year in 2009.

PRESS RELEASE – 3 December set for second strike day at University of Southampton

Union calls on Southampton University chief to donate strikers’ wages to poorest students and to use influence to help resolve nationwide pay row

Members of the University and College Union (UCU) at the University of Southampton will join a nationwide strike on Tuesday 3 December in a row over pay.

The national pay dispute between staff and universities is starting to become fractious at a local level. UCU members at the University of Southampton said today (Wednesday) that they are unhappy the institution is refusing to donate pay docked from striking staff into the student hardship fund, as other universities are doing.

The local union also said it is disappointed vice-chancellor Don Nutbeam is refusing to use his influence, as a board member with the employers’ representatives UCEA, to try and bring about a swift resolution to the dispute.

The three campus unions – UCU, Unison and Unite – took strike action on Thursday 31 October and have confirmed that their members will walk out again across the UK in three weeks’ time, and be joined by Scottish education union the EIS, unless the dispute over pay is resolved.

Members of the University and College have been working to contracts since Friday 1 November as part of the dispute. On Monday UCU wrote to UCEA and asked for dates for talks aimed at resolving the dispute.

Union members are angry at a 1% pay offer, which has seen their pay fall in real-terms by 13% since 2008. The squeeze on staff pay comes at a time when pay and benefits for university leaders increased, on average, by more than £5,000 in 2011-12, with the average pay and pensions package for vice-chancellors hitting almost £250,000. More on that here

Eric Silverman, president of the UCU Southampton branch, said: “Staff at Southampton do not want to be taking strike action. They want to see a swift resolution to this dispute and no further disruption to students’ studies. We are disappointed that the university is not donating the money it saves by docking the pay of those who strike to the student hardship fund, as other universities are doing.

“The employers need to come back to the negotiating table with something less insulting than a 13% real-terms pay cut over the past five years. We would urge our vice-chancellor, Don Nutbeam, to use his considerable influence at a national level to help progress things along.”

The first day’s strike, on 31 October, left some campuses deserted. Around the country, lectures were cancelled, libraries shut and deliveries turned away. Services such as cleaning, catering and security were also affected.  

The cumulative operating surplus in the higher education sector is now over £1 billion and many higher education institutions have built up cash reserves. Overall staff costs in higher education, as a proportion of income, have fallen from 58% in 2001/02, to 55.5% in 2011/12.


31 October 2013 Industrial Action

Here are a few pictures of some of our picket lines and our afternoon rally from yesterday’s strike action:strike2strike1strike3GJL_9605GJL_9589

And to spice things up, some of our colleagues singing protest songs over at Avenue Campus:





The 2014 pay ballot – why you should vote YES YES

As part of our campaign to make Southampton a better place to work and learn, the first step is to redress the erosion of our pay. That is why we urge you to vote YES YES in the UCU ballot.

If this were the offer from the University over the next five years how would you feel?

– Move down one increment in the pay scale each year
– Pay several hundred pounds more into your pension each year
– Do this under increased workloads
– And with fewer support staff available to you
– And no staff club in which to meet with your colleagues
– Leading to significantly increased stress

Sound good?

Of course not. But this is what has happened to us over the past five years. Our pay has been cut 13% in real terms. A grade 5 lecturer is paying £100 more per month into their pension. And the university shed over 200 support staff last year.

But the University also made a £15m surplus in the last financial year. It can afford to pay more, and employ more staff.

Enough is enough. It is time for us to defend education, for ourselves, and the future generation.

Help us to make Southampton a great place to work and learn. Vote YES YES in the UCU ballot.