In an attempt to undermine the strike, QMUL’s Principal has sent all students an email disputing claims made by the union. These emails are patronising. We know many students support the struggle to make the university a better, fairer place for everyone. Worse, many of the claims made in the Principal’s email are simply wrong.
* More on pay
The Principal claimed to students that the average pay rise at QM was 3.5%. This hides issues of distribution and the long run effect of below inflation pay adjustments.
The 3.5% average quoted only comes about because the unions have, rightly, demanded that the lowest paid get the largest pay adjustments. It is a trick to avoid discussing just how much pay is being squeezed. That is not an excuse to treat the rest badly.
QM’s audited financial reports reveal the truth. Salaries and payroll have fallen dramatically behind inflation. In 2009 the average salary per employee was £41138. In 2019, it was £49893. According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, it would need to be £55596 to have kept up with inflation.
FoI data showed that in the August 2018 pay adjustment, ~70% of Queen Mary employees at grades 5, 6, and 7 did not get an auto-increment (i.e., are at the top of their scale and have their salary eroded by inflation every year). No grade 8 (professorial) colleague gets an auto-increment. Even taking account promotions and bonuses, the vast majority of QM employees represented by UCU have had their pay constantly eroded by inflation.