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Protests at University of Birmingham over workloads and senior pay

7 December 2017 | last updated: 7 March 2019

Staff and students at the University of Birmingham will be staging a protest in University Square by the Staff House steps at 1pm on Friday.

UCU members are currently being balloted for industrial action in a dispute over working practices. That ballot closes on Thursday 14 December and the union says that unless negotiations can resolve the current impasse then strike action in the new year remains on the cards.

The union says the university must agree to improve workloads and give all academic staff adequate time to focus on all elements of their roles including teaching, research and admin. UCU has highlighted how staff struggle to deal with their workloads while suffering real-terms cuts to their pay, but senior managers at the university are among the best paid in the country.

The protest comes as scandals over senior pay and perks in universities continue to make headlines. Sir David Eastwood, the university's vice-chancellor, was the fourth best paid vice-chancellor in the UK last year and since 2009 he has been paid £2.9m in salary. He also enjoys a university-funded residence provided for him on campus, and a university-funded chauffeur-driven car.

Seven senior staff members at Birmingham are paid more than £200,000, while 36 senior staff earn more than £150,000. In total, the 44 highest-paid members of staff of the University of Birmingham received over £8m in the academic year 2015/16.

Speakers at the rally will include members of the UCU and Unison trade unions as well as Dr Michael Carley who has been involved in the senior pay and perks scandal at the University of Bath.

Birmingham UCU president Roland Brandstaetter said: 'UCU members at the University of Birmingham will simply not put up with the continued failings of senior managers to address workloads. Staff need the time to be able to complete all elements of their jobs and we are balloting members asking them if they will take strike action to force that change.

'Students and the reputation of the university will suffer if overworked staff cannot deliver high quality teaching or undertake world-class research. We will be making it clear at Friday's protest that enough is enough.'