While many of us are currently involved in national disputes over pay, equalities and pensions. we should continue to apply pressure on our own managements. We need to press them over a range of issues from excessive pay for vice-chancellors to pay gaps for women and BME staff and from increased use of casualisation to their use of outsourcing. We’ve expanded on six questions originally posed to their own VC by Sheffield UCU to suggest ten questions that you can put to your management.
(1) How did you respond in the recent USS consultation? Were you one of the two VCs who agreed to increase contributions by 1%? One of the 14 who agreed to increase your share by 0.5%? Or were you one of the remainder who are still unwilling to take on any more contributions?
(2) If you are unwilling to pay RPI +3%, what improvements to the headline pay offer of 1.8% are you willing to make, in order to reverse over a decade of real terms pay cuts?
(3) Can you commit to providing a workload model based in hours to all of your staff? If not, why not? How do you propose tackling the sector-wide stress and overwork crisis if staff are not able to accurately measure their workload?
(4) Given that over a decade of data – gathered by, among others, yourselves – has repeatedly shown a systemic differential in pay, based on gender & ethnicity, are you willing to commit to developing a concrete action plan to close these equalities pay gaps?
(5) Are you willing to eliminate the use of zero-hours contracts at your university?
(6) Are you willing to reduce the number of fixed term contracts used by your university?
(7) Do you have a formal agreement governing the contractual conditions of hourly-paid staff?
(8) If you outsource your catering, security or cleaning services, are you willing to discuss bringing these services in-house?
(9) Do you have a formal change management policy that involves meaningful consultation before announcing redundancies, either voluntary or compulsory? Are you willing to negotiate a redundancy avoidance agreement?
(10) Do you have a staff or student representative on your remuneration committee that considers the salary of senior management including the vice-chancellor? Does your VC attend the meetings where their pay is established? If so, why?