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Union demand action over pay gap

UNFAIR: The UCU says that universities must make tackling the pay gap in higher education institutions a priority

UNIVERSITIES MUST make tackling the “unacceptable” race pay gap a priority, according to the University and College Union (UCU).

The union was responding to a BBC report which revealed that black and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at Russell Group universities face an average pay gap of 26 per cent com- pared to their white colleagues.

UCU said its own research had shown that nine in 10 (90 per cent) of BAME staff in colleges and universities reported facing barriers to promotion, while more than seven in 10 (72 per cent) of university staff said they had experienced bullying and harassment.

The union called on universities to work with trade unions to tackle barriers faced by BAME staff.
UCU head of equality, Helen Carr, said: “These findings show we still have a very long way to go in closing the pay gap for black and minority ethnic staff in our universities.

BARRIERS

Our own research shows that nine in 10 BAME staff at universities report facing barriers to promotion, and seven in 10 say they’ve experienced bullying and harassment at work.
“It is absolutely unaccepta- ble that BAME staff continue to be paid less and are underrepresented at higher levels within our universities.

“Institutions must make it a priority to address the concerns of BAME staff and work with trade unions to tackle the barriers to progression they continue to face.”

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the BBC found that the average salary of white academics at the UK’s 24 leading public research universities, is significantly higher than that for black, Asian and mixed-race academics.

At Russell Group universities, including Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham, the average pay is £52,000 for white, £38,000 for black and £37,000 for Arab academics. Black and Arab academics make on average 28 per cent less than their white counterparts. The data obtained by the BBC also showed a smaller pay gap for other Asian and mixed-race academics.

The pay gap is even higher for ethnic minority women at Russell group universities, who face both ethnicity and gender pay gaps. On average, white women make 15 per cent less than white men, while Asian women earn 22 per cent less and black women make almost 40 per cent less.

The BBC found that women and ethnic minority academics at Russell Group universities tend to be in lower-paid jobs and are less likely to be promoted. While the Russell Group declined to comment, a spokesperson for Leeds University told the BBC: “This is why we are committed to ensuring that black and minority ethnic staff are employed at all levels and to reducing any pay gap aris- ing from our current represen- tation across the grades.”

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