As York lecturers prepare to strike over a six per cent pay rise, “fat cat” Vice Chancellor, Brian Cantor, has seen his pay package soar.
Figures released last week show that while staff at the University had only been awarded a 25% increase over a five year period, the Vice Chancellor post rocketed by a staggering 52% to over £136,000 in the same time.
Last year Brian Cantor was forced to impose a one year “freeze” on all funded academic posts, despite his bulging pay packet.
This latest news will only compound a wider picture of a deeply “unfair” pay structure. Lecturers’ salaries have fallen by 40 per cent compared with their counterparts in other industries over the past 20 years.
The inflation-busting pay hike has emerged as both academic and support staff are poised to create havoc across campus by striking on the 24th and 25th of February as part of nationally co-ordinated action by the Association of University Teachers (AUT).
AUT deputy general secretary Malcolm Keight said that the figures will “enrage academics and senior support staff up-and-down the country.”
“Year-after-year [lecturers] have been told by the vice-chancellors that there isn’t enough money to pay much above the rate of inflation.”
AUT spokesman for the University, Simon Parker, said he is determined that the strike will effectively “cripple” the day to day running of the University with a significant majority of academic staff ready to strike during a critical phase of the year for many final year degree students.
Parker defended claims made by some students that the AUT disruption would have a detrimental effect on their degree and warned University officials not to use students as political pawns in the run up to the strike.
“This is for the benefit of the students as well. They deserve better too and we will not allow them to use students to blackmail us out of strike action. This issue must be addressed and this is the only way we will be able to get them to listen.”
Parker laid down the gauntlet for Admin demanding that if their conditions were not met, the disruption would continue.
“The ball really is in [Admin’s] court. If it is not resolved and if talks are not resumed without conditions, you can expect more action.”
A source close to the University has revealed that officials are “deeply concerned” over the pending strike, news that will bolster the lecturers’ campaign and harden their resolve to maximise disruption.
The AUT’s decision to hold a ballot for strike action has been endorsed by the National Union of Students. NUS president, Mandy Telford, said “The NUS recognises that industrial action may be necessary by the AUT to protect its members’ interests. Further, the NUS supports the AUT in its struggle against the employers’ attacks on academic and related staff pay and conditions.”
However, there is unlikely to be any official student action at York, since the Union has not mandated action through the UGM.