Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pay Packets for Vice-Chancellors Rise Up to PS14,000

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pay Packets for Vice-Chancellors Rise Up to PS14,000

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Brown Reporter m.brown@ncjmedia.co.uk

UNIVERSITIES in the North East have defended pay rises which have seen their vice chancellors pocket up to PS14,000 more as tuition fees hit PS9,000.

Unions have criticised what they say is the widening gap between institution bosses and staff who teach students.

The heads of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria and Sunderland universities all saw the amount they received increase in 2012/13.

Durham University saw the biggest increase in the region, with warden and vice-chancellor Professor Christopher Higgins' overall benefits rising by 5.2% - PS14,000 - to PS283,000.

Newcastle's Professor Chris Brink saw his salary rise PS1,700 to PS222,000, with pension contributions up PS1,000 to PS55,900 and "benefits in kind" falling to PS1,700 - a PS2,200 total increase that amounts to just 0.79%.

Professor Andrew Wathey at Northumbria - who in 2012 controversially saw his salary alone jump almost 12% - has continued the upward trend with PS5,520 more, even before his pension deal is revealed.

And while Sunderland's Professor Peter Fidler saw his salary fall by PS3,000, overall he received PS9,000 more as the university gave him PS28,000 in lieu of a pension contribution - PS12,000 more than the amount they had given him the previous year.

"This confirms what we've been saying for some time - that vice chancellors' salaries are running away, while our members are offered only meagre improvements," said Ian Owens, regional spokesman for the University and College Union. And the gap between the highest and lowest paid is widening every year."

Mr Owens said the figures would likely fuel anger among staff, who may yet call for more strike action in the coming term.

"Our members are a highly skilled workforce - to be a lecturer at a university you are looking at at least six years in higher education gaining qualifications - but universities seem to feel they have to give vice chancellors more to keep them in their jobs, not the staff who are teaching students. …

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