UNISON lodges dispute with University of Nottingham over pay

University of NottinghamUNISON has lodged a dispute with the University of Nottingham over plans to re-evaluate roles for its lowest-paid support staff that will see poorly paid workers’ incomes squeezed even further.

The university’s mission statement says “Our purpose is to improve life for individuals and societies worldwide”, but its lowest paid staff struggle on some of the lowest wages in higher education.

In response to a UNISON freedom of information request in March 2013, the university revealed that, over a year, it spent £884,232 on agency staff. The union points out that the cost of bringing the 569 staff who are paid less the Living Wage in line with the current rate would be around £550,000 for a year.

The university’s accounts show that total income increased by £41m in the last financial year, leaving it with a surplus of £22m. The number of staff earning more than £100,000 a year has risen from 115 to 134, at a cost of £16m and the vice chancellor alone takes home a £357,000 pay and bonus package.

But the university says it can’t afford the Living Wage.

UNISON national secretary Jon Richards said: “The disparity in income at the university and the employer’s refusal to pay a fair wage for low-paid members shows a lack of judgment. Too many vice chancellors don’t understand the growing revulsion at the expanding differentials between low paid staff and overpaid leaders.

“Nottingham University has made itself one of our top targets in our Living Wage campaign.  We will be watching them very closely from now on.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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