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Union calls for overhaul of pay and perks at University of the West of England

6 March 2018

Staff at the University of the West England (UWE) say a Channel 4 expose of senior pay and perks at the institution must lead to serious change. UCU said there needed to be far greater transparency around how the pay of the vice-chancellor was set and his expenses signed off.

UWE vice-chancellor professor Steve West's £43,000 expenses bill featured in a Dispatches expose on vice-chancellor pay and perks. A recent UCU report revealed that Steve West was allowed to attend the meetings of the committee which sets his pay. The same report showed that the university refused to issue full unredacted minutes of that committee.

UCU said vice-chancellors should not be allowed to attend meetings where their pay or expenses are discussed. It is also calling for students and staff to sit on those committees. The union says senior staff pay increases should be in line with those awarded to other staff at the university.

UCU UWE branch chair, Phil Sayce, said: 'It is simply unacceptable that the vice-chancellor's pay and expenses are going largely unchecked while students are paying more to study and the value of staff pay is falling in real terms. The recent Channel 4 documentary brought the university into disrepute and the whole situation sends a damaging message to staff about the regard in which they are held.

'We need much greater transparency in how senior pay is decided, starting with more representation for staff and students on university committees. Senior pay rises should be brought in line with those awarded to all staff, upon whom the success of the university relies.'