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Durham University: pay staff a fair wage

This petition had 177 supporters

By February 8th, the Vice Chancellor of Durham University has already earned more than the average-paid non-academic staff member will earn in the entire year.  By the end of February, he will have earned the same amount as the average-paid member of academic staff.  With an annual salary of £287,000,[1] he sits well above the average yearly pay for a University Vice Chancellor.

Many members of staff in Durham are employed on exploitative zero-hours contracts and many are paid less than the living wage.  We believe this level of inequality is unjustifiable, especially in a time of austerity in which many public sector workers are being made redundant and university departments are being savagely cut; in which tuition fees are increasing and living costs and rental prices are skyrocketing beyond the affordability of many students.

Growing academic evidence (including research by the current Vice Chancellor’s predecessor, Professor Ray Hudson) shows that institutions, organisations and societies with greater equality tend to be more productive and their workers enjoy a greater sense of well-being.  Beyond this, we believe that it undermines the basic principles of equality and fairness that should be espoused by a leading academic institution such as Durham University, and to which it should pay more than just lip service.

We thereby call on Durham University and the Vice Chancellor to:


1. Publish the ratio between the highest and lowest paid worker in the University

2. Commit to working towards a 10:1 wage ratio on campus

3. Pledge to pay directly employed workers the Living Wage (currently £8.45/hour)[2]

4. Ensure contractors pay their workers the Living Wage

5. Publish the pay of Vice Chancellors and senior management

6. End exploitative zero-hours contracts

[1] Times Higher Educational Pay Survey 2016
[2] The Living Wage Campaign - (February 2017)

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