Universities have stopped vice-chancellors from voting on the committees that set their pay following last year’s outcry over rising salaries but many university leaders have clung to the right to attend the meetings, it has been revealed. The Guardian reports.
Freedom of information requests by the University and College Union (UCU) found that just nine universities still allow their vice-chancellor to vote on their institution’s remuneration committee, which sets senior staff pay, compared with 66 that admitted to doing so last year.
But UCU said its latest report found four out of five vice-chancellors still retained the right to attend the meetings, and so were able to influence the committee’s decisions, although the proportion had fallen from 95% to 81% in the latest responses.
But the widespread loss of voting rights represents a victory for the UCU’s activism, the acting general secretary, Paul Cottrell, said. “The recent pay and perks scandals at our universities have been incredibly damaging, yet these figures suggest that the higher education sector still refuses to act.
Remuneration committees are usually a sub-committee of the university’s governing body, and meet to set pay awards and benefits, including pension contributions and bonuses, for senior staff such as deans, professors and department heads in high-demand subjects such as law and medicine, and upper echelons of management.
Last year a committee of university chairs issued guidelines that recommended vice-chancellors should not sit on or attend remuneration meetings.
The nine that allow their leaders to attend and vote on remuneration committees include the universities of Aberdeen, Chichester, Portsmouth, Coventry, Cranfield and Liverpool Hope University, as well as Heythrop College, Rose Bruford College and the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
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