According to latest figures Scotland’s Higher Education Institutions held cash reserves of around £2.6Billion at the end of the 2010-2011 financial year, while the pay levels of staff continue to decline. University reserves and endowments showed an increase of around £600Million since 2009, and the overall operating surplus for Scottish universities during 2010-2011 was over £91Million. Yet staff pay has been declining for the past 3 years, and the Universities have offered yet another below inflation pay award (1%) this year. The EIS has rejected this offer, and lecturers will strike on 23 October.
Commenting on the figures, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The EIS is pleased that Higher Education funding in Scotland has helped Universities to be viable and successful intuitions. It is however a cause of great concern to EIS members that the success of Universities is not shared with staff in the form of fair and appropriate pay.”
He continued, “Universities are becoming richer, while staff are becoming significantly poorer in real terms. The EIS estimates that the average real-terms pay cut for HE lecturers over the past three pay settlements is 12.2%, whilst university funding, surpluses and reserves grow ever larger.”
Mr Flanagan added, “The latest HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) figures show that University expenditure on staff has reduced as a proportion of University funding over the last few years. In other words, University lecturers and other staff are effectively funding larger University reserves through their real terms pay cuts over the last three years.”
EIS-ULA members will begin a programme of industrial action in defence of their pay on Tuesday 23 October with a one-day strike. Further action cannot be ruled out unless a fair and appropriate agreement on staff pay is reached.