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UoN Spent Over £880,000 On ‘Agency Workers’ In 2013

The University of Nottingham (UoN) is to ‘re-evaluate’ the roles of some of its lowest-paid support staff. UNISON, a trade union representing public service workers, has claimed that this re-evaluation will result in further squeezing of the incomes of staff.

News of the plans has led to an official dispute being lodged by UNISON, which has now named the University as one of its “top targets” in its living wage campaign.

Following a freedom of information request by UNISON in March 2013, it has been discovered that £884,232 was spent by UoN on employing ‘agency workers’ in the last financial year.

UNISON has calculated that it would cost UoN approximately £550,000 a year to increase the salaries of the 569 staff at the University who are currently paid less than the living wage.

“The scale of pay should not necessarily be based on qualifications, as a lot of the time the most valuable people to students hold much less authority than figures such as the Vice-Chancellor”

Furthermore, the union pointed out that the number of university staff paid above the £100,000 a year salary bracket has risen to 134 at a total cost of £16m.

National secretary of UNISON, 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 judgement”.

“It seems that the University has tried to hide the fact that it values its senior staff over a regime of fair pay”

A second year student suggested: “Everyone who works at the University has a vital role to play, or else they wouldn’t have a job in the first place.

“The scale of pay should not necessarily be based on qualifications, as a lot of the time the most valuable people to students hold much less authority than figures such as the Vice-Chancellor, but make more of a direct difference to us. Is that not what university should be about?”

A third year economics student commented: “It seems that the University has tried to hide the fact that it values its senior staff over a regime of fair pay”.

“The extreme income inequality due to low pay and extortionate salaries of the Vice-Chancellor and senior management is an insult”

Duncan Davis, chair of the UoN Living Wage Campaign, told Impact: “It is outrageous that the University is paying so many staff members poverty wages.

“The University makes a huge surplus each year and could easily afford paying a living wage.

“All staff should be paid enough to live a decent life on, but clearly and shamefully the University doesn’t care about that.

“Also, the extreme income inequality due to low pay and extortionate salaries of the Vice-Chancellor and senior management is an insult”.

The University of Nottingham negotiates pay locally with UNISON and does not take part in national discussions over pay for members of the trade union.

Natalia Deane

Image: Glastonbury Left Field via Flickr 

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