Cambridge University students plead for a half-term break due to ‘intense’ workload.
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Vice-chancellors have seen their salaries return to normal levels

The vice-chancellors of 15 universities in the UK have seen their salaries return to normal levels after accepting pay-cuts during the pandemic.  

The vice-chancellors of several British universities had taken a pay-cut in light of financial challenges to the institutions as a result of Covid-19. 

Alice Gast, vice-chancellor of Imperial College London, had taken a pay-cut of 20% to £287,000 in May 2020. However, in November, Gast’s base salary had been almost fully reinstated at £359,000. 

Prior to the pandemic, she had the highest pay package among all vice-chancellors at £549,000, which included the use of a residence worth £110,000 a year and £47,000 in pension contributions. 

The vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Stephen Toope, who had a base salary of £379,000, had also taken a temporary 15% pay-cut to £322,150, before returning his salary to normal after 31 March 2021. 

In addition to the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and York were also among the 10 Russell Group universities whose vice-chancellors cut salaries had returned to normal levels. 

That some vice-chancellors think it is acceptable even as they throw staff on to the scrap heap shows just how deep the rot in the sector is

– Jo Grady

Since March 2020, a total of 1,900 staff have been made redundant across these 15 institutions. Furthermore, it is estimated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies that the total losses by the university sector during the pandemic could amount to £11 billion.

Due to the financial struggle, hundreds of university staff were also made redundant to reduce costs. At Cambridge, 52 redundancies were reported, excluding fixed term contracts. 

At least 291 staff from Imperial College London were made redundant, most of which were researchers on fixed-term contracts. 

Jo Grady, University and College Union (UCU) General Secretary told The Times: “Staff will rightly be sickened to see that some bosses have already connived to quietly reinstate their pay, exposing the temporary pay cut as a mere PR exercise.” 

“That some vice-chancellors think it is acceptable even as they throw staff on to the scrap heap shows just how deep the rot in the sector is”, she added. 

 

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