Britain’s best-paid vice chancellor was branded ‘shameful and shameless’ yesterday after accepting another salary hike which brings her total package to more than £468,000.
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, of Bath University, was awarded a pay rise of 3.9 per cent in 2016-17 despite widespread concern over her huge wages.
The figure compares to the 1.1 per cent national pay award given to academic staff across the country last year and translates to an extra £17,589 for the 65-year-old.
It was decided by the university’s renumeration committee, of which Dame Glynis was a member – a post she only stepped down from last month.
The financial award sparked outrage yesterday, with Labour’s former education minister, Lord Adonis, accusing the vice chancellor of ‘systematically trashing the reputation of her university by sheer greed’.
He led growing demands for her to resign and urged University Minister Jo Johnson to intervene, warning the institution was ‘waving two fingers’ at his demands for pay restraint among vice chancellors.
Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, of Bath University, was awarded a pay rise of 3.9 per cent in 2016-17 despite widespread concern over her huge wages
Staff at the institution also condemned the pay rise, with one claiming the university was being run ‘like a politburo of a decrepit Soviet state’.
Until now, only Dame Glynis’s renumeration for the 2015-16 financial year has been reported, with the £451,000 package – including pension and other benefits – made her the country’s highest paid university boss.
But the Bath Chronicle has now revealed further deliberations of the university’ s renumeration committee which awarded her a 3.9 per cent pay increase (2.8 per cent on top of the 1.1 per cent national award) for 2016-17.
In addition, pay rises of 4.8 per cent (3.7 per cent plus the national rate) on 2015-16 levels were agreed for ten employees by the renumeration committee when it met on July 7 2016.
They went to the university’s deputy vice chancellor, Bernie Morley; pro-vice-chancellor for research, Jonathan Knight; pro-vice-chancellor for learning and teaching, Peter Lambert; former director of finance, Diane Aderyn; university secretary, Mark Humphriss; director of estates, Martyn Whalley and deans of four academic departments.
The meeting was attended by five people: Bath lawyer Thomas Sheppard; university treasurer Peter Wyman; former chairman of Vinci construction company, John Stanion; former university Masters student Mark Hawkesworth and Dame Glynis, who withdrew from the meeting when her pay was under discussion.
Minutes released following a Freedom of Information request explain the criteria the remaining four members considered when setting Dame Glynis’s new wage.
When I worked at the university, I was paid less in a year than (Professor) Breakwell got as her pay rise last year
They considered a Committee of University Chairs (CUC) survey of vice-chancellors’ pay, a statement of Dame Glynis’s salary for the previous year and proposals from committee chair Mr Sheppard.
The remuneration committee’s pay recommendations then went to the university’s governing body, council, on October 20 2016 for final approval.
Claire Marr was a member of the council when these increases were agreed. She has since left the role as well as her university job as an accommodation operations assistant.
She told the Bath Chronicle: ‘When I worked at the university, I was paid less in a year than (Professor) Breakwell got as her pay rise last year.
‘I tried to change this culture of huge pay rises for the top and real terms pay cuts for the rest, but the governance structures are set up to stop any criticism of the management.’
Research assistant Sol Gamsu, 29, is employed on an 18-month fixed-term contract at Bath University to conduct a study into educational inequality.
He said: ‘The university seems to be being run like a politburo of a decrepit Soviet state. This crisis is entirely of their own making.
‘Under the period she’s been vice-chancellor the university has been successful, but the example she’s setting for members of staff coming into higher education like myself is one of greed.
‘While at the one end you’ve got the vice-chancellor (getting) inflation-busting pay increases, you’ve got staff like myself being given one per cent pay increases.’
Lord Adonis yesterday accused Dame Glynis of being ‘shameful and shameless’ in accepting the ‘truly obscene’ pay award
Dr Gamsu is being paid £26,500 a year for his research but said that when his contract expires next summer he’ll be out of work.
Lord Adonis yesterday accused Dame Glynis of being ‘shameful and shameless’ in accepting the ‘truly obscene’ pay award and repeated his offer to become vice chancellor of Bath for a month, on no salary, to ‘clean out the Augean stables’.
This would enable him to recruit a new vice chancellor on £150,000-£200,000-a-year and ‘cut all the fat-cat top salaries’.
He said: ‘It beggars belief that in view of the public controversy that the governors of the University of Bath could allow this to happen or that she could accept this pay increase.
‘It shows a complete contempt for the students and the community at Bath that this has happened and I think she has simply got to resign.’
A University of Bath spokesman said yesterday: ‘It is right that the University pays the salaries required to recruit and retain individuals with the skills and experience to ensure the continued success of the University and its excellence in teaching and research.’