Bad blood over medical staff’s rising wages

Anger is mounting over £100,00 pay-packet revelations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act at Newcastle, Durham, and Northumbria Universities.

Since 2014, the wages of highly regarded workers have soured upwards. At Newcastle University, clinical staff are paid in accordance with NHS guidelines implying that many earn over £100,000. Other members of staff, who earn over £100,000, include a high-ranking professor and a registrar.

The university stated those within the top pay bracket remained within the national standards. A Newcastle University spokesman said: “The number of staff earning £50,000 or more has increased over the past few years due to staff promotion and progression.

“Our University is home to a highly regarded medical school.

“This means the majority of staff members who are paid more than £100,000 are those who are also clinical academic staff and who are paid in line with NHS rates.

“The University’s rates of pay are in line with the higher education sector nationally.”

Out of the 5,170 employees of the university, only 118 are paid £100,000, while other employees are not paid as well as those working within the highly regarded medical school.

The spokesman added: “We employ many highly skilled staff whose knowledge, expertise and experience mean that we provide our students with excellent teaching, learning and research.

“Our School of Computing Science is ranked one of the best in the world, Newcastle University is in the top 1% of world universities and our students consistently rate us as one of the best universities in the UK for student experience.

“We are committed to continue providing excellent opportunities and investing in quality facilities today’s students need and expect.

“These include a £30m investment in new state–of-the-art sports facilities and a £75.5m project, which will transform Newcastle University’s largest student accommodation at Richardson Road into six new student accommodation blocks.

“Our Library facilities are also expanding. Last year we opened Newcastle University’s latest library building, the Marjorie Robinson Library Rooms, which features over 550 study spaces, 220 desktop PCs and areas for group study.”

The University and College Union, which represents staff said: ‘’UCU members will be amazed that over 100 people at the university are earning over £100,000 per year. Universities are telling us that lower paid academics can only have a 1.1% pay rise, and our members are seeing their pay decline in real terms on an annual basis. Our members will regard this as one rule for senior managers and another for them.”

A spokesman for the Union said, “UCU continues to be concerned about the pay of Higher Education staff, and took strike action recently over an initial pay offer of 1%. The fact that this has been increased to 1.1% will do little to address the pay inequalities that exist in the sector, particularly in relation to gender pay differentials.”

The battling of UCU has left the organisation hardened to their member’s struggles.

Their spokesman added, “We are unsurprised about the number of staff paid in excess of £100K at Newcastle University and we will continue to look for pay claims across the board that reward all of the staff working in Universities, and address issues such as casualisation.

“There continues to be too many people on temporary, fixed-term contracts.”

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