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The Vice-Chancellor’s Pay Rise

The University quietly announced yesterday that Vice-Chancellor Don Nutbeam has accepted a £17,000 pay rise, taking his salary up to £294,000. He has also had £39,000 paid into his pension pot by the University.

Following the strike action, the Vice-Chancellor told us that there was no chance of any movement on the 1% pay offer, as the University is not in a sustainable financial position.  As we can see from this 6% pay rise, and the jump from 64 people on £100k+ in 2011 to 299 people in 2012, there is certainly money around — but apparently only for those on the top of the scale.

Meanwhile, staff are expected to cope with yet another real-terms pay cut, 140 staff at the university earn less than the living wage, and 198 of our lecturers are on zero-hours contracts. For our many colleagues who earn less than £17,000 in an entire year, seeing the Vice-Chancellor accepting this pay rise is simply insulting.

Our union’s demands are reasonable and proportionate — as outlined in the initial pay claim, we want our pay to go up in line with prices, action to address the gender pay gap, progress on disability leave and living wages on campus. Doing these things would make our universities more supportive and equitable places to work.  We suggest that if the University can afford to pay the VC twice the salary of the Prime Minister, it can afford to pay a decent wage to the staff that actually keep the university running every day.

Your support so far has been brilliant, with over 200 of us at the rally on the 3rd, and many more taking part in the strike. It’s vital that we continue to work together, and with our colleagues in UNISON and Unite to demand fair pay on campus.

If you think pay rises shouldn’t just be for Don Nutbeam, then please do the following:

Email the Southampton UCU office letting us know why you think this is unacceptable

Speak to your colleagues, inform them of this and encourage them to join the union if they haven’t already done so

Email University senior management and ask them to justify this pay increase, when they are telling staff they can’t afford fair pay on campus.


Eric Silverman

Southampton UCU President