UNISON campaigns for fair pay across Higher Education.  Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by UNISON revealed some shocking figures about how our Universities pay their staff.

We’re asking for Fairness, Transparency and the Living Wage in Higher Education.


  • Vice Chancellors (VCs) in Yorkshire & Humber earn an average £244,000 a year.
  • The highest paid VC receives £378,000; the lowest paid receives almost £148,000.
  • All Universities pay a number of staff more than £100,000 per year.
  • VCs earn up to 25 times the hourly rate of the lowest paid employed at their Universities.
  • For two years running most HE staff have been offered only a 1% rise in national negotiations, while VCs have received a 39% rise (2012/13) or almost 17% (2013/14).
  • Universities in Yorkshire & Humber spend up to £3m per year on agency staff.


  • Salaries for VCs and the highest paid are decided by remuneration committees which meet privately.
  • No information is published or shared on criteria, or how these salaries are justified.
  • Many VCs received a huge hike in their pension contributions, rather than a visible salary increase.
  • UNISON has to make FOI requests to gather financial information on pay in HE.


  • Many HE institutions still fail to pay the Living Wage to their lowest paid staff.
  • Only one University in Yorkshire has signed up to be an accredited Living Wage employer.  This means the others can drop below Living Wage pay rates whenever these change.
  • Companies providing outsourced services – such as cleaning, catering and security – can set their own wages and terms and conditions, below Living Wage and lower than colleagues employed by the University.
  • Only the University’s insistence can make Living Wage a condition of awarding a contract to outsourced services.

Fed up?  Angry?  
Join the UNISON campaign to see Fairness, Transparency and Living Wage at your University.

More details from your branch.