University of Birmingham students have launched a protest to highlight pay imbalance – with the focus on its £410,000-a-year vice-chancellor.
On the basis, it takes vice-chancellor David Eastwood 13 days to earn the annual salary of the university’s lowest-paid staff, students chose today – January 13 – to campaign.
In a protest organised by Defend Education Birmingham, they attempted to present Mr Eastwood with a giant fake cheque from the “Bank of Fat Cats”.
Defend Education claims Mr Eastwood is the highest-paid vice-chancellor in the UK, following a £10,000 rise last year, while academics nationally were involved in a pay dispute after being offered a pay rise of one per cent.
Rachel O’Brien, community action officer at the University of Birmingham Guild of Students, said: “We’re at a time when our lecturers are fighting to stop their pensions being decimated, when our university is still not a Living Wage employer and when they continually justify not listening to students due to a lack of funding, yet the university management clearly have enough money to pay the vice-chancellor more than any other in the country.”
A statement from Defend Education claims students approached Mr Eastwood’s office to present him with a mocked-up giant cheque but he did not come out to receive it.
After chanting outside his office, students settled for sliding the cheque under the door.
The protest in Birmingham is part of series of actions at universities and colleges across the UK criticising the pay disparity between management and staff called for by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.
The university has been approached for comment but is yet to respond.