Cardiff hosts prestigious university conference


Two hundred support workers from universities across the UK gather in Cardiff today (Wednesday) for a two-day seminar organised by UNISON to evaluate the state of the Higher Education sector. Clerical workers; I.T. staff; lab workers; cleaners; caterers; security staff and more, are due to discuss the prevalence of low pay in the sector, contrasted with excessive Vice Chancellor pay.

Staff representatives of the eight Welsh universities will give evidence of the unhealthy situation in Higher Education (HE) where high workloads, zero hours and agency work are common. Jobs and pensions are being attacked across the sector and there are threats to outsource staff and services.

In 2016, no Welsh Vice Chancellor earned less than £200,000 and 210 executives at Welsh universities earned more than £100,000.

Dan Beard, a UNISON HE executive member for Wales said,

“Support staff have a vital role in the educational success of universities and in providing students with a really positive experience at a key point in their life.

“Despite this, we are frequently treated as second-class employees and low pay and poor conditions dominate. Minimum wage rates of pay mean support staff family budgets are very stretched. Yet universities today are multi-million pound businesses and Welsh Vice Chancellors have telephone number salaries. This is simply not acceptable and the money needs to be divided up in a much fairer way.

“As a start, there is no reason why Welsh universities cannot pay at least the Foundation Living Wage of £9 per hour.”

Stephanie Thomas, UNISON Cymru Wales regional secretary said,

“This is a prestigious event for Cardiff to host as we welcome staff from universities across Britain. It’s an important time as the HE sector faces many challenges.

“A world class education system can drive Wales’ economic growth. It can help deliver a fairer society providing equal opportunity for all and unlocking people’s potential. That’s why Welsh universities should be fair employers too.

“UNISON resists any form of marketisation because it is harmful to the quality of services for students and the pay and working conditions of staff.”

Notes for editors

  • UNISON’s HE branch seminar will take place in Jury’s Inn, Cardiff 7-8 November 2018


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 53 83 97