UEA boss paid nearly £200,000 last year

STEVE DOWNES The previous boss of UEA was paid almost £200,000 last year, thanks to an inflation-shattering 15.5pc pay rise, it was revealed last night.

STEVE DOWNES

The previous boss of UEA was paid almost £200,000 last year, thanks to an inflation-shattering 15.5pc pay rise, it was revealed last night.

Prof David Eastwood, who left in July to become head of the universities' national funding council, got £194,000 in 2005/6 - up from £168,000 the previous year.

The increase followed a total salary rise of 25.4pc in the previous three years for the then vice chancellor - meaning a £60,000 hike over four years from around £134,000 in 2001/2.

Prof Eastwood was succeeded on September 1 by Bill Macmillan, previously pro-vice chancellor at Oxford University.

According to a survey by the Times Higher Education Supplement, Prof Eastwood's salary put him well ahead of the 2005/6 national average of £165,105 for vice chancellors.

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The survey found the average vice chancellor's pay rose by 7.9pc, or £12,000, last year.

Lecturers' leaders warned that the “handsome rewards” for bosses sent the wrong message to staff, as the average academic's pay rose by 3pc.

The University and College Union (UCU) said 43 vice-chancellors now earned more than the Prime Minister, while 34 earned £200,000 or more.

The latest increases came in the year that university lecturers from UCU's predecessor unions, AUT and Natfhe, were locked in a bitter national pay dispute with their employers.

The dispute included a 24-hour walkout by lecturers, researchers and UEA administrative, computing and library staff - and a controversial exam and coursework assessment boycott, which at one stage sparked fears that students would not get their degrees on time.

UCU joint general secretary Sally Hunt said: “At a time when the whole sector needs to unite around defending academic values, securing better funding and maintaining our proud world class teaching and research, the handsome rewards for those at the top threaten this vital unity and send exactly the wrong message to university staff.

“Their pay rises come in a year when staff workloads have continued to increase, class sizes have remained unacceptably high and job security remains a distant aspiration for thousands.

“It is vital that universities ensure there is proper scrutiny of vice-chancellors' pay and pension provision if we are to avoid suspicions of one law for those at the top and another for the rest.”

A UEA spokesman said: “The vice chancellor's salary is decided by a sub-committee of the University Council led by people from the local business community.

“In coming to a decision, they consider the complexities of leading an international, multi-million pound turnover organisation which is one of the largest employers in the region.

“Attracting individuals of the right calibre to this post is vital to our continued success in research, teaching, knowledge transfer and contributing to the economic, cultural and social health of the region.”

A spokesman for vice-chancellor's group Universities UK said: “It is important to note that vice-chancellors do not award themselves pay packages.

“Their salaries are agreed by individual university remuneration committees. These committees report to the independent governing body of the university, and invariably include business and other external representatives.

“Any suggestion therefore that such pay deals go unchecked is sadly wide of the mark.”