High flying VC told to rein in costs

Posted By TEU on Oct 28, 2010 |

Tertiary Update Vol 13 No 41

The University the Auckland’s vice chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon, saw his remuneration increase yet again, according to the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie, from less than $570,000 in 2008 to more than $610,000 in 2009.

The University of Auckland chancellor Roger France defended the pay increase to the Sunday Star Times saying it appeared Professor McCutcheon had a $50,000 boost, when he had actually been given less than 2 percent.

“The difference was down to a quirk in the calendar that meant he was paid 25 times in 2008 and 27 times in 2009. Part of the 2008 payment is sitting in the 2009 year.”

However that ignores an on-going trend that has seen Professor McCutcheon and his predecessor consistently receive significant pay increases.  In 1999 the State Services Commission reported that then vice chancellor of Auckland University, Dr John Hood, was receiving less than $200,000 per year.  Since that time inflation (CPI) has increased 31 percent and average wages have increased 43 percent, but the vice chancellor’s pay has increased over 300 percent.

The University of Auckland vice chancellor is not alone however, with virtually all tertiary education sector bosses enjoying pay increases of more than 150 percent in the last ten years.

Mr Rennie used the release of these figures to call for pay restraint in the tertiary education sector. He noted there has been a big rise in the number of people earning more than $100,000 a year at universities, wānanga, and polytechnics.

Tertiary Education Union national secretary Sharn Riggs said however that ordinary staff in the sector have exercised considerable restraint over the last year and a half.

“Most people working in tertiary education have had pay increases less than the rate of inflation in the 18 months since the economic crisis hit. This is effectively a pay cut.”

Since 1999 the lowest pay increase for TEU members has been just under 30 percent and the highest increase has been 55.5 percent.

At Unitec, for instance the lowest paid tutorial assistant earned $22,604 in the year 2000, and the highest paid principal academic staff member received $65,583.  The chief executive at the time received between $200,000 and $210,000.  That was about 8 or 9 times more than the lowest paid tutor and about 3 times more than the most highly paid academic staff member.

Now the lowest pay rate on the tutorial assistant pay scale is $28,765 and the highest pay rate for a principal academic staff member is $83,459.  By comparison last year the chief executive received between $320,000 and $330,000. That is about 11 or 12 times more than the lowest paid tutor and about 4 times more than the mist highly paid academic staff member.

Despite the substantial pay rise over the last ten years the Unitec chief executive’s pay has risen by a smaller percentage than many of his other chief executive and vice chancellor colleagues.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Govt saves Wānanga from going overseas
  2. Ministry seeks value for money
  3. VUW chops and changes
  4. Minister defends industry training cuts
  5. CTU’s alternative economic strategy

Other news

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (Witt) councillors will next month decide whether to pay themselves more money as the institution they help govern struggles with massive funding cuts. They will decide whether the six regular councillors should stick with their per-meeting fee of $320 or change to a salary of up to $14,400 – a 125 per cent increase. –Taranaki Daily News

Service and Food Workers’ Union (SFWU) delegate Jude Young said cleaners at Massey University arrived to work about 4am on October 19 to find the doors locked, security guards waiting and three managers telling them to go home. “I have never seen all of us so gutted. Some of us were crying, it was the darkest day of our lives. I will never forget that day.” Workers had no indications of a looming lockout. Mrs Young said “Cleaners “reluctantly” signed the agreement”. – Manawatu Standard

The London School of Economics, one of the world’s leading universities in social sciences, has been examining the option of going private as fears grow that a rise in tuition fees will not provide sufficient funding for English universities to compete globally – The Guardian

TAFE students paid almost $300 million in fees last year, and further dramatic fee rises are expected. But a report released last week by the independent government advisory body Skills Australia says student fees account for only 4.5 per cent of TAFE revenue and argues for increased market-rate fees for certificate III and above – The Australian

Massey University has committed that, even if the government’s introduces its proposed new employment laws which deny workers their basic personal grievance rights in the first ninety days of work, those laws will not apply to staff at Massey University – TEU

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