While the strikes rage on, a reminder that these 21 VCs earned over £300k last year

Seems fair to me

With UCU strikes taking place this week all across the UK, it turns out 21 Russell Group university Vice Chancellors earned over £300,000 last year.

58 universities in the UK are participating in the strike action – around 50,000 members of the UCU – which also said it will affect more than a million students in the run-up to Christmas.

As it stands, uni staff are set to see a 35 per cent cut to their pensions on top of a 20 per cent fall in real term wages since 2009. Some universities are also employing nearly half their tutors on precarious contracts who say they are overworked, underpaid and without proper job security

Meanwhile, the average overall pay packet for a Russell Group head honcho last year was £389,340 – up £8,000 from the year before.

Exeter’s now-retired head Sir Steve Smith was the highest-paid Russell Group boss last year, with a £185,000 bonus for his performance over the previous seven years taking his total renumeration to £584,000. Close behind was Imperial and LSE VCs, all raking in over £500k a year.

The total pay packets are made up of base salary, pensions, benefits-in-kind like rent-free houses, and bonuses.

How much each Russell Group uni paid its Vice Chancellor in 2019-20

UCU general secretary Jo Grady told The Tab: “Eye watering salaries for vice-chancellors whilst some staff struggle to make ends meet are a source of shame for the university sector. Most staff have seen their pay held down whilst spending the year under huge strain working to support students during the pandemic.

“Too many staff are suffering from stress, anxiety, heavy workloads and job insecurity, and some universities have even exploited the pandemic to cut staff on insecure contracts. There is a gaping chasm between how they and vice-chancellors have been treated.

“It is galling to see so many university staff suffering in the midst of Covid, whilst those at the top are able to isolate themselves from its impact.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Universities could refund students over the strike disruptions

We found out if your uni’s Vice Chancellor got a pay rise during the pandemic

These are the 50 hardest unis in the UK to get a first from