Valentine's Day protest over low pay planned at regional university

PROTESTORS will deliver a chocolate heart with the inscription have a heart - pay the living wage to the office of Durham Universitys vice chancellor on Valentines Day.

Students and staff will be protesting because the University has refused to pay some of its lower paid workers what the Unison union describes as a living wage.

Durham University is one of the top 100 universities in the world yet some of its lower paid workers are earning less than the £7.45 per hour which is the minimum required to support a family.

Recently Professor Chris Higgins, vice chancellor of Durham University was awarded a £28,000 per year pay rise taking his salary to around £232,000..

John McDade, Unison regional organiser said: "It cannot be right that one man can earn almost a quarter of a million pounds a year yet people working for the same employer are paid poverty wages. His increase is more than some of the University's lower paid workers earn in a year."

Student Stuart Armstrong, living wage officer with Durham University Labour Club, said: "I think that it is quite heartless that Durham University refuses to pay the Living Wage, but gives a £28,000 pay rise to its Vice Chancellor."

But a spokesman for Durham University said: "The Living Wage campaign takes no account of other benefits which our staff enjoy, most notably a secure final salary pension scheme, into which the University makes a contribution of 12 per cent of salary.

"The Vice-Chancellor's salary is determined by the Remuneration Committee of University Council to enable the University to attract the best staff from around the world, while ensuring value for money for the University."

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