Universities are dishing out one-off bonuses to try and keep angry striking lecturers sweet
Lecturers think the bonuses merely back up their long-held belief that they aren’t being paid enough
Universities are dishing out “one-off” bonuses to try and keep angry, striking lecturers sweet.
Oxford Uni, Bristol Uni and Edinburgh Uni are among those offering cash to staff, claiming the payment is in recognition of their efforts over the pandemic years.
But many lecturers see these handouts as merely backing up their long-held belief that they simply aren’t being paid enough in the first place.
The University of Oxford is giving all staff a £1,000 bonus as a “thank you” for their “commitment and dedication” during the pandemic.
The Oxford branch of the University and College Union (UCU) wrote to its members: “The payment is an implicit admission that many of you employed at a world-leading university are facing financial difficulties. This is because, even before the current crisis, your pay has not kept up with inflation and your pension (if you have one) has been cut.”
They added: “The payment announced today is a symptom of the underlying problem: you are not being paid fairly.”
The University of Edinburgh will pay all staff a £500 bonus, with a post on the uni website reading: “All staff are being offered an exceptional payment in recognition of the tremendous efforts made to deliver on the breadth of the university’s work over such difficult times.”
On hearing that other unis are dishing out almost double, some Edinburgh lecturers are pissed off.
Edinburgh law lecturer Dr Andy Aydın-Aitchison told The Tab: “Even these larger sums are drops in an ocean of 10 years of below-inflation pay settlements and the recent slashing of pension benefits.
“My own salary is estimated to have lost about 20 per cent of its value in the last decade. My pension benefits were cut by approximately £8,000 per annum in April, based on a valuation that was called out as nonsense at the time by staff and union alike, and that has since been recognised as such by scheme managers.
“In fighting those needless cuts, I personally lost £2,400 in salary deductions for strike days since January.”
The university sector has faced up to 18 days of strike action this year as well as a marking boycott that left students at risk of not being able to graduate.
A spokesperson for the national UCU said: “On the face of it one-off payments will appear welcome as the cost-of-living crisis bites, but university managers are kidding themselves if they think it makes up for pay having fallen by a quarter since 2009, or for university staff facing unjustified cuts of 35 per cent in their retirement incomes.
“With three-fifths of university staff seriously thinking about leaving the sector, instead of one-off payments university management need to address the core issues, revoke their pension cuts and bring a new, improved pay deal to the table.”
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