“The gross salary of Stephen Toope is symptomatic of a marketised higher education system that prioritises profit over learning and conditions”, said Cambridge Defend EducationLouis Ashworth

The Cambridge University Living Wage Campaign and Cambridge Defend Education have criticised the salary Vice Chancellor Stephen Toope, who earned £475,000 in 2018-19, according to analysis by The Tab .

The Cambridge University Living Wage Campaign said: “Stephen Toope’s huge salary and yearly pay increases are emblematic of the inequalities that the University is based on. FOI data has shown only 8 colleges were paying their staff £9.00 an hour and 795 college staff across the city were not earning this living wage.”“Toope should explain why the University has failed to gain living wage accreditation, despite its commitment to seek formal accreditation, and use his influence to call on the 29 unaccredited colleges to gain accreditation”.

Currently only two colleges are living wage accredited: Queens’ and Girton. Despite the University deciding to seek living wage accreditation in February 2018, it has still not been formally accredited due to the failure to pay the living wage to contractors and subcontractors.

Toope’s salary was also criticised by Cambridge Defend Education who argued that “the gross salary of Stephen Toope is symptomatic of a marketised higher education system that prioritises profit over learning and conditions.”

“It is also part of a broader structure of fat cat pay with the remuneration of eight management personnel - the Vice-Chancellor, the Pro-Vice-Chancellors, Chief Financial Officer and Registrary - totalling £2.1 million, and 347 staff earning over £100,000 a year.“

They also sought to draw attention to the disparity between the rising pay of the Vice-Chancellor and the consistent fall in real wages that university lecturers have suffered.


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“We will be escalating our tactics until Toope responds to UCU’s demands and formally recognises them as a union. The struggle against marketisation, and for a free and liberated university is a collective struggle that unites students and workers.”

These comments were issued in response to a recent investigation published by The Tab National. In this investigation, Mr Toope is listed as the third highest paid Vice-Chancellor in the country. His salary of £475,000 was an increase of £47,000 from his 2017-18 salary. These figures were drawn from the University’s own financial statement.

However, a university spokesperson said that the pay rise was not as large as The Tab had suggested. “The main difference between the Vice-Chancellor’s pay in 2018 and 2019 is due to the fact that his pay as reported in the year to 31 July 2018 covered only 11 months, compared to the full 12 months in the year to 31 July 2019.”

“He asked not to receive any increase in pay for 2018/19 other than the national pay award given to all employees”.

The national pay award is an increase in pay negotiated each year which varies according to the salary of the recipient. The lowest increase one can receive for 2019/20 is 1.8% and those lower down the salary spine receive a larger increase.

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