Striking university staff 'paid far less' than in America or Canada

The Northern Echo: Christopher Higgins, vice chancellor of Durham University Christopher Higgins, vice chancellor of Durham University

AS UNIVERSITY staff across the North-East prepare to strike over pay tomorrow (Thursday) new figures show they are paid far less than in other English-speaking countries.

The University and College Union (UCU) analysed international figures on pay, compiled by Deloitte[ which show that UK lecturers were paid 45 per cent less than Canadians, 34 per cent less than American lecturers and 16 per cent less than their Australian counterparts.

The analysis shows that academics’ pay in the UK is amongst the lowest in English-speaking countries despite our higher education system being ranked second out of 50 countries for the results it produces.

The current pay dispute between UCU and university leaders, was prompted when UK university staff refused to accept a one per cent pay offer for this academic year. UCU members complain that the one per cent pay rise offer represents a real-terms 13 per cent pay cut since 2009.

UCU pointed out that the vice-chancellor of Teesside University, Professor Graham Henderson, got a 15.9 per cent pay rise last year while the vice-chancellor of Durham University, Professor Christopher Higgins, got a 5.2 per cent pay increase.

UCU members took two days of strike action before Christmas. Thursday is their third one-day strike, and they will be joined on the picket lines by members of Unison, Unite and the EIS trade unions. Members of also UCU plan to strike for two hours on Monday 10 February.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “There is no justification for staff in New York or New South Wales to be paid substantially more than those in Newcastle.”

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