Friday, 27 March 2015

Success in University of Bath Living Wage Battle

Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts and the three trade unions at the University of Bath have declared a victory in their long campaign for a Living Wage at the university.

Press release from Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts:

After months of increasingly vocal protest on campus, the University of Bath has announced to staff this week that they will pay all workers at least £7.85 an hour – the equivalent of a Living Wage! For the lowest paid staff, many of them student workers, this concession from management represents a pay rise of over 20%.

In recent months, Bath Students against Fees and Cuts and members of the local trade unions have staged four demonstrations on campus calling for a Living Wage for all, an end to exploitative contracts and a reduction in overall pay inequality at the University. In February we held a “Vice Chancellor’s Day” party to highlight the growing gap between the highest and lowest paid at the University. We also had two large protests outside meetings of the University Council, and a lobby of University Court at the beginning of March saw Vice Chancellor Glynis Breakwell and Chancellor Edward Windsor forced to take a back door into the meeting to avoid the students and staff waiting outside.

It is no coincidence that University management have backed down now after months of pressure from protests and activism on campus. Campaigns for equality inevitably involve challenging and putting pressure on those with power and privilege, not by obediently “working in partnership” with them. This victory shows what we can achieve when we organise and fight!

Winning a significant pay rise for the lowest paid staff is a big deal. But while we are celebrating this success, the fight for increased equality and better conditions for working and studying at the university has only just begun. The pay increase that the University have offered is in the form of a “pay supplement”, which university managers could take away at any time, over two thousand workers remain on exploitative zero hour contracts, and overall pay inequality on campus is among the worst in the UK.

Bath Students against Fees and Cuts will be continue to fight for:
+ a maximum 5:1 pay ratio between the highest and lowest earners
+ a GUARANTEED Living Wage for all in-house and out-sourced staff
+ democratic control over senior management pay and appointments
+ action to address gender and race inequality
+ secure employment contracts for all staff, including students who work at the university
+ an end to fees tuition fees and a return to free and publicly funded education, which we believe is a right and not a privilege.

On Saturday 28th March we will be attending a national demonstration in Birmingham calling on the Labour Party to support free education and grants, not make weak pledges to reduce tuition fees to £6000 a year.
For more information, and to get involved in the campaign, visit and send us a message.


Standing Stone's Blog caught up with University of Bath student and Living Wage campaigner, Maisie Sanders, who told us:

“Hopefully this will encourage other businesses in Bath, as well as other universities, to pay their staff a Living Wage, especially seeing as the University of Bath employs more staff on the minimum wage than any other UK university. 

“However, there’s still a lot to be done in terms of lobbying the university to put people before profit. Thousands of staff are employed on insecure zero-hour contracts, which discriminate against women and disabled workers, and pay inequality is still staggering with the Vice Chancellor paid one of the highest salaries in British higher education.”


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