The University of Bath has agreed to pay the ‘Living Wage’ of £7.85 to hourly campus wages from next week.
The agreement follows a long period of campaigning by groups such as the University and Colleges Union (UCU), UNISON, the University of Bath Student’s Union and Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts.
Secretary of the UCU at University of Bath and Social Policy Lecturer, Hedley Bashforth, told bathimpact that “Hundreds of campus workers, many of them students, will benefit from this”, and the decision was “a big victory for joint trade union-student action and shows that nothing is more effective when it comes to changing the minds of senior university managers.”
On the changes, a University spokesperson said: “The University has agreed to increase the pay supplement currently paid to permanent and fixed-term staff in addition to their basic pay to bring salaries in line with the Living Wage, and to extend the same arrangement to casual worker pay rates.
“These arrangements will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis,” he added. The University of Bath had said last year that they would review their pay policy at the beginning of April.
However, concern still remains over the implementation of the higher wage. Staff will continue to be paid their original pay, but the ‘Living Wage’ will be made up from supplementary pay similar to a tip, something Mr Bashforth claims “can be withdrawn at any time.”
The University of Bath Student’s Union President Jordan Kenny told bathimpact, “This is an incredible result for student staff at the University of Bath, bringing together the efforts of vocal students and campus Trade Unions, alongside the extensive lobbying work of the Students’ Union.”
“We still have much to do, not only for students here, but to support individuals across the UK to fight for issues much broader than only pay inequality”, he went on to say.
As well as Union action, student groups such as Bath Students Against Fees and Cuts have been influential in campaigning on this issue, as well as others such as demonstrations over the Vice Chancellors pay.
In a post on their Facebook page they wrote “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.
They also wrote that they would continue to campaign on 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 and secure employment contracts for all staff, including students who work at the University.
The ‘Living Wage’ has been mentioned by a number of political parties, with David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, claiming to support the idea in principle and Ed Miliband saying Labour would introduce an £8.00 minimum wage if elected. Equally, the Greens have backed the policy for a number of years.