The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, Don Nutbeam, has accepted a pay rise of £17,000, angering the campus Unions.
The news comes after the three main campus Unions, the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU), Unite and Unison walked out on strike earlier in December and back in October. They were striking over a one percent pay rise, which was implemented this month, which they felt was inadequate given the cited 13% cut experienced in the past four years.
The scale of the rise is not unprecedented in the country. At the same time as Professor Nutbeam’s pay rise was announced, the Vice-Chancellor of the neighboring University of Winchester also saw her pay rise by 12.6% to £222,700, an increase that the Hampshire Chronicle noted was six times the rate of inflation.
The University has defended the Vice-Chancellor’s increase saying:
The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with over 23,000 students and 5,000 members of staff. It is appropriate that the vice-chancellor of such a large, complex and international institution should be comparatively remunerated.”
The Unions however have called on Professor Nutbeam to reject the pay rise. Eric Silverman of the UCU commented that:
It is quite outrageous for the vice-chancellor to tell staff to accept a pay rise of 1%, because there’s no money left, when he’s set to pocket a rise six times that. Professor Nutbeam needs to understand that there is not one rule for him and another for everyone else. We call on him to reject this pay rise and to push for a fair pay deal for hard-working university staff. This large increase seems particularly confrontational, given the on-going strike action.
Equally, Anna Lyon of Unison said:
No-one expected this; it’s a real kick in the teeth for hard-working staff, some of whom are relying on food banks this winter.
The rise brings Professor Nutbeam’s salary to £294,000 in addition to his pension of around £37,000. This is higher than the £247,482 calculated by the Times Higher Education supplement as the average pay for Higher Education leaders. However it is significantly lower than the salaries of some other Russell Group Vice-Chancellors with Brimingham’s Vice-Chancellor earning the highest with a total package worth £406,000. Unions are however comparing his salary to those of other well known leaders such as David Cameron who receives £142,500.
You can read the UCU’s statement released on 20 December here.