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3 January 2018

Higher education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay and marketisation

Fight for free education

Theo Sharieff, Socialist Students national chair

In the new year honours, five 'fat cat' current and former vice-chancellors were rewarded for their 'services to education'.

The national outrage that was sparked before Christmas over the levels of VC pay led to the resignation of Bath university vice-chancellor Glynis Breakwell. So the vast majority of students and staff on campuses will be perplexed and angered over why our university executives continue to be rewarded and praised by the political establishment.

One recent article in the Sunday Times reported on the comparatively 'low pay' of Harper Adams University's vice-chancellor, which currently stands at 182,000 a year - higher than the prime minister's salary.

And while this may be on the lower end of the scale as compared to other fat cat VCs, it is eye-wateringly high in the eyes of the vast majority of students and workers who have to put up with low-paid, precarious work on campuses and elsewhere.

What's more, these grotesque rates of pay continue at a time when it was reported by the Financial Times that millennials face a pension squeeze, with the government admitting openly that around 12 million workers are currently under-saving for their retirement.

As the furore over vice-chancellor pay has continued, student support for the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party has continued to grow, peaking in December at a staggering 68%. This support reflects his popular policy of abolishing tuition fees and bringing back maintenance grants.

Jeremy Corbyn should capitalise on the protests started by Bath university students and workers last term by harnessing this record level of support and calling for national demonstrations against rip-off executive pay and the marketisation of our universities.

Mass demonstrations, coordinated by the National Union of Students and supported by the Labour leadership, and linked to demands for greater accountability, workers' rights on campuses and free education, could see the end to this rotten Tory government.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26653