University of Portsmouth staff make stand against pitiful pay rise

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, second right, and Minister of State for Schools The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, centre, with representatives from Portchester Community School  and Henry Cort Community College

Fareham schools issue plea to minister over new funding formula

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WE deserve fairer pay. That was the message from senior academics as they marched out of work in a dispute over their wages.

Staff from the University of Portsmouth took to the steps of the Park building to make it clear that a proposed 1.1 per cent pay rise isn’t good enough.

This year, a vice-chancellor’s pay went up by 6.7 per cent. In 2013/2014, they were earning £260,000 per anum. For me, this goes against the grain of what university’s are.

Dr Ben Clarke

They say it is not fair at a time when executive staff are still on large salaries.

And there are concerns over contracts being relaxed, meaning staff are unsure whether they are jobs are secure.

Doctor Ben Clarke, a lecturer in English language, said: ‘Since 2009 in real terms, our pay has dropped 14.5 per cent.

‘It’s making job security difficult, particularly for those entering higher education and starting their academic careers. Salaries are not particularly fantastic, they are not what they were.

‘This year, a vice-chancellor’s pay went up by 6.7 per cent. In 2013/2014, they were earning £260,000 per anum.

‘For me, this goes against the grain of what university’s are.’

He added: ‘It’s not a good job to be going into.

‘I have to question having started five years ago, whether it was a very sensible move.’

University and College Union members are working to contract, meaning they are refusing overtime, additional work and undertaking voluntary work. The strike action was expected to last until the end of today.

But further action could be taken in June and July if no agreement is reached.

A boycott on marking students’ work could be held in the summer.

Dr Helen Ringrow, lecturer in communication studies and applied linguistics, said: ‘The main thing for me, is about fair pay and equality for all members of staff.

‘We have got this huge disparity in pay which seems to be getting worse and worse.

‘It’s really important to be going out and taking a stand with my colleagues, to show that things are getting worse.’

She added: ‘Students are not always aware of what is going on, sometimes they think we get a lot of money.’

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