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GU Response: University Financial Situation

last modified Jun 02, 2020 12:39 PM
We are very concerned by the VC’s announcement today that the University is considering real-terms cuts to staff pay as a response to this crisis.

We are very concerned by the VC’s announcement today that the University is considering real-terms cuts to staff pay as a response to this crisis. Workers should not bear the brunt of the costs of this pandemic, and a pay freeze would impact the lowest-paid, including earlier career academics, most severely. The wages offered to many are already far too low, and this announcement comes at a time when the position of many in the University is more precarious than ever.

The austerity measures proposed by the VC today would also widen the gender pay gap of the University and other staff inequalities, as it is more commonly women, BME or disabled people who are the least well paid. This goes against the principles behind the two UCU strikes supported by the Graduate Union. The University should be working to counter these pay inequalities, not preparing to entrench them.

Students have already raised their concerns in April on the risks of COVID19 and the impact on University workers and fair pay. It is not up to students or the lowest-paid workers to shoulder the cost of this crisis, and the Colleges and University have huge savings so that they can be prepared to face such circumstances. 

Perhaps more reasonable would be to start by cutting the salaries of the 35 members of University senior leadership who earnt more than 150k in 2019 or their outsized benefits, rather than targeting the least well off.  Maybe “more efficient use of our estate” could include selling off the VC’s grace and favour mansion, currently inhabited rent-free?