Universities and colleges that fail to pay all of their employees a living wage face being “named and shamed”, two unions warned yesterday.
The National Union of Students (NUS) and Unison are launching a campaign calling on institutions, including private contractors working on campuses, to pay all of their workforce a fair salary.
The unions said they are planning to create a league table of the worst offenders – those with the biggest gap between their highest paid members of staff and those who earn the lowest wages.
Under the unions’ league table system, universities and colleges that agree to pay a living wage will be recognised for doing so.
The unions claimed that the average yearly income of a university vice-chancellor in 2009/10 was £218,813, while an employee working a 40 hour week on minimum wage in the same year would have had an income of £12,334.
NUS vice-president Dannie Grufferty said: “The difference between minimum wage and a living wage is the difference between constant money worries and being able to make ends meet.
“It also makes sense for employers who’ll see a rise in productivity and greater retention of staff.
“Employers at colleges and universities have six months to get their house in order before we name and shame those that allow such shocking disparities to continue,” he said.
Jon Richards, Unison national secretary for education and children’s services, said: “Low pay and inequality are at the heart of the huge problems that we face as a society today.
“We are determined that this disgraceful pay gap is closed.”
The living wage, which is independently set, currently stands at £7.20 per hour outside London, and £8.30 in the capital, figures which are ahead of the legally enforced minimum wage.