UCU hits out at “scandalous pay inequalities” at the university

The University and College Union Edinburgh have criticised the pay disparity between senior management and other staff at the University of Edinburgh. 

Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh Peter Mathieson received £392,053 in salary and other benefits for the last academic year, up from £385,455 in 2019. 

The university’s median pay is £36,914 and is over 10 times lower than the principal’s salary. 

A UCU spokesperson told The Student:

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“We believe the disparity in renumeration at the university is a reflection of the fundamental injustice and inequality that permeate the sector.  

“The functioning of the university is reliant on the exceptional work of all of its staff, many of whom are facing significant precarity and financial hardship.  

“While a small number of staff receive exorbitant salaries, workers across the university continue to face unacceptable working conditions, a hiring freeze, and scandalous pay inequalities.  

“For context, pay has fallen by over 20 per cent for university staff in real terms since 2009 while pay for Vice Chancellors and senior managers has rocketed.  

“Our members are facing casualised contracts, unmanageable workloads, pay inequalities, the difficulties of working from home, especially with care responsibilities, and pressure to work on campus under dangerous conditions. 

“We believe the pay ratios at the university should be adjusted to better reflect workloads and to ensure sustainability going forward.” 

This comes as senior staff pay cuts, as a result of the pandemic, ended and pay was restored to pre-pandemic levels earlier this month. 

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh said: “In April 2020, Professor Mathieson and his senior team took a pay cut for six months due to the impact of Covid-19.  

“This took effect as of the start of the current financial year, from 1 August 2020, because the financial challenges of the pandemic have been more keenly felt in the current financial year than the last. His salary has now returned to its original level. 

“Professor Mathieson has not accepted a pay rise since he took up his post in 2018, and this year, neither he nor his senior team will receive a pay rise.” 

While the Principle’s salary of £342,000 has not changed, the total renumeration he receives has. Last year Mathieson received over £40 thousand more than the university’s next highest earner. 

The ten most senior members of university staff received a combined £2.3 million in compensation last year. 

The university employs over 16 thousand members of staff, 299 of which are earning over £100,000 per year. Seven earn over £250 thousand. 

The Student has contacted Edinburgh University Students’ Association for comment. 

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