UNISON vows to keep pressure on Nottingham Trent University after, in a year, it spent £2.9m on agency staff

Nottingham Trent UniversityUNISON has pledged to keep the pressure on Nottingham Trent University after it refused to pay its lowest-paid staff the Living Wage, while paying the vice chancellor more than £600,000 a year.

The vice chancellor is the highest paid in the country, taking home salary and bonuses of more than £600,000.

According to its last financial statement, the university has an operating surplus in excess of £13.1m. Yet the university maintains that it cannot afford to pay its lowest-paid staff the living wage.

An FoI request from UNISON has shown that the university pays at least 212 members of its workforce below the Living Wage of £7.85 an hour.

The FoI request also revealed that, over a single year, the university spent £2.9m on agency staff. That’s approximately £984 per employee – a fraction of which could give the lowest-paid staff a decent income.

UNISON East Midlands head of higher education Catherine Mellors said: “We have approached the university and asked it to pay their lowest-paid staff the living wage, but this has been flatly refused.

“It is sad to see that both prestigious universities in Nottingham appear to be in a rush to the bottom. The universities are some of the largest employers in the city, and claim to offer their students great employability, and yet offer some of the lowest salaries to many of their own staff.

“However, they offer some of the highest salaries in the sector, with large numbers earning over £100k per year.”

UNISON national secretary Jon Richards said: “This is another example of a UK university leaving its own staff struggling to pay their household bills while stuffing its vice chancellor’s mouth with gold.

“Many other universities have made the moral and economic choice to pay their staff the living wage, yet universities in Nottingham clearly have no conscience.

“Too many vice chancellors don’t understand the growing revulsion at the continued expanding differentials between low-paid staff and overpaid leaders.

“Nottingham Trent University has added itself to our list of 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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