UCU report shows reluctance to reveal details of principals’ pay

Photo credit: The Saint

St Andrews was one of a number of universities which did not reveal details of meetings to set pay level rises for vice-chancellors and principals in a report by the Universities and College Union (UCU).

The UCU asked universities across the UK to provide the minutes of the meetings that set pay for vice-chancellors and principals, called remuneration meetings or committees. Of the 139 institutions asked, only 7 sent minutes. 14 of those 7 redacted their minutes.

15 per cent of the universities did not respond to the UCU’s request. Another 66 per cent claimed confidentiality of the minutes requested and thus did not provide them. University of St Andrews was one of those institutions.

When asked, the University of St Andrews’ Court office said that: “The University does not publish Court committee minutes, of which our Remuneration and Human Resources Committee is one. This is largely due to issues of commercial sensitivity or other personal information that may be contained herein.”

This information comes in the wake of data from the Times Higher Education Survey that said that vice-chancellors enjoyed a pay hike of 5.5 per cent across the country between 2011-1 and 01-13. Louise Richardson, principal and vice- chancellor of St Andrews, has not received a pay rise for the last five years.

The general secretary of the UCU, Sally Hunt, was unsatisfied by the data. She said: “Millions of pounds of public money are spent on vice-chancellors’ salaries, yet their pay rise is decided behind closed doors with no accountability.”

She went on to note that “all but five university vice-chancellors earned more than the prime minister last year, while staff have been on strike six times this year in protest at a measly one per cent pay offer. We believe there is a strong and legitimate public interest to justify these growing six-figure salaries.”

A St Andrews spokesman said: “Full details of [Professor Richardson’s] remunerations are published in the University’s accounts annually.”


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