Russell Group vice-chancellors get pay rise after year of uni staff sackings

Temporary pay-cuts during the pandemic were a ‘PR exercise’, critics say

The vice-chancellors of 15 UK universities have had their six-figure salaries bumped back up to normal levels after taking pay-cuts during the pandemic.

The uni bosses originally accepted pay-cuts to help mitigate the financial effect of the pandemic on their institutions, while hundreds of staff members were made redundant.

Imperial VC Alice Gast took a 20 per cent pay cut in May last year, before her salary returned to £359,000 in November. Gast is also entitled to the use of a £11,000-a-year residence and £47,000 in  pension contributions.

Cambridge VC Stephen Toope had the highest base salary of all uni bosses before the pandemic, before he took a pay-cut to £322,150 for the six months leading up to March 31st.

Other VCs who took pay-cuts and have since seen their salaries rise back to pre-pandemic levels include those at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, York and several other Russell Group unis.

The recent salary hikes have come in spite of an estimate that the university sector could have lost £11bn due to the pandemic, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Around 1,900 staff members have been sacked at the universities where VC pay has risen once again since March of last year.

Jo Grady, UCU general secretary told The Times: “Staff will rightly be sickened to see that some bosses have already connived to quietly reinstate their pay, exposing the temporary pay cut as a mere PR exercise.

“That some vice-chancellors think it is acceptable even as they throw staff on to the scrap heap shows just how deep the rot in the sector is.”

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