Academics’ unions have called for an inquiry into the pay of university vice-chancellors after a survey showed that 18 earn at least £200,000 a year.
The AUT and Natfhe unions, representing lecturers and academic staff, called for scrutiny following the survey by the Times Higher Education Supplement .
The AUT has asked why vice-chancellors deserve such high salaries. But the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA) said such remuneration packages reflect what it takes to attract, retain and reward individuals of sufficient calibre and experience.
The survey found more than 30 vice-chancellors can claim higher salaries than the £169,000 earned by Tony Blair, and that pay for university bosses increased on average by 25% between 2001-02 and 2004-05.
Members of the AUT and Natfhe went on a national one-day strike over pay on Tuesday, and a boycott of assessments and appraisals has begun.
Sally Hunt, general secretary of the AUT, said: “I think there is a real and urgent need for vice-chancellors’ pay to be properly scrutinised and all rises to be conducted in a transparent manner.”
But UCEA said in a statement: “Vice-chancellors, operating in an increasingly competitive global market, do a demanding job as chief executives of large, complex, multi-million pound organisations.
“The majority of academic staff have experienced an average pay rise of between 22% and 26% between 2001-02 and 2004-05 – the same time period for which the THES reported an average rise of 25% for vice-chancellors.”