University of Reading: pay your staff the Living Wage

Petition Closed

University of Reading: pay your staff the Living Wage

This petition had 947 supporters

Chris Foye started this petition to Sir David Bell (Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading) and

What do we want?

The University of Reading to become an accredited Living Wage Employer.

What is the Living Wage?

An hourly rate set independently and calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The scheme is voluntary and relies on employers making a commitment to pay their staff more than they legally have to. The Living Wage is currently set at £7.85 per hour.

Why do employers pay it?

For a relatively modest increase in wage costs, Living Wage Employers can ensure that their lowest paid workers have access to acceptable standards of living. Beyond ethical considerations, paying the Living Wage can have a variety of benefits including reduced absenteeism, greater productivity, increases in the quality of work and improvements in staff retention.

What is the problem?

Over £5 million was spent on the top 42 staff last year, yet more than 700 employees and contracted workers earned less than the Living Wage (£7.85 per hour). This is despite the fact that Reading is one of the top-ten most expensive places to live in the UK.

Why the University of Reading?

A 2013 report into pay inequality in the UK Higher Education sector ranked the University of Reading as the 32nd most unequal of 113 institutions, and also listed it as being in the top-ten employers of minimum wage staff. To quote a joint UNISON and NUS report, there is an 'inherent irony of some institutions providing their students with a means to improve their chances in life, while failing to lift some of their employees out of poverty'.

Do other universities pay it?

Yes, over 20 UK universities are Living Wage employers including many from the Russell Group. Cardiff, Exeter, Cambridge, Oxford and the London Colleges have all made commitments to pay their staff the Living Wage and work towards accreditation.

How much would it cost to implement?

We are limited by the figures available but, based on data obtained from HR and a Freedom of Information Request, we have calculated that it would cost approximately £485,000 a year to implement. To put this into context, the University spends over £500,000 a year on recruitment agency fees, hundreds of thousands on marketing and pays the Vice Chancellor a salary greater than that of the Prime Minister.

What has the campaign done so far?

The campaign obtained official backing from the Students’ Union (RUSU) in early December after securing an overall majority (61.7%) in the Change It! student democracy elections. We have since been working with RUSU to advance the aims of the campaign, and were successful in securing a meeting with senior management. As a consequence, our proposal is now under review. You can read our proposal here.

What do we need to do now?

We need to maintain pressure and raise as much awareness about the campaign as possible. This is where you come in!

What can I do?

If you agree that the University of Reading should pay the Living Wage please sign the petition and share it with your friends.

Can I do anything else?

Yes! Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest updates. If you would like to become more actively involved with the campaign, or have any questions for us, please contact Matt Austin at

How has the campaign fared in the media? See for yourself!

Reading University Students Union vow to challenge pay inequality

Reading East Labour Candidate supports University living wage campaign

Greens keep up the pressure for Reading University to pay a living wage

The Tab: Uni rejects Living Wage Campaign - shocking figures reveal top brass earn 4 million

Get Reading: University of Reading students back Living Wage Campaign

Demotix: Reading University at the centre of a Living Wage crisis with low-paid staff

Reading Chronicle: Calls to pay Living Wage at Reading University

The Spark: Living Wage Campaign begins

Reading Chronicle: Reading firms back fair rate for all

Reading Chronicle: £1/4million boss defends Reading uni pay policy

The Spark: Vice-Chancellor defends University pay policy

Petition Closed

This petition had 947 supporters