The STUC has called on Scottish Government to legislate for all university governing bodies to have a chair elected by all staff and students, ensure they are representative of the university and wider community – including a quota for women members; and include reserved places for trade union representatives.
UNISON Scotland’s Davena Rankin backing the University and College Union Scotland’s motion said: “Senior management pay continues to increase at a time when workers in universities have seen their salary fall in real terms by 15% -with one university principal in Scotland receiving an increase of twenty five thousand pounds”
Davena also pointed out that while universities plead poverty they managed to spent £3.1 billion pon capital projects and £370 million pounds was spent on universities in Scotland.
She told the STUC that part of the problem is university principals and governors are unrepresentative of the workers they seek to lead and that the lack of diversity within university governors is shocking.
Davena said “As a staff governor I am well used to being the only black person at meetings and across Scotland black women are almost completely absent from university courts. While university courts remain unrepresentative they will continue to be disconnected from the workers they seek to govern and will continue to prioritise capital spend and senior management pay over workers terms and conditions and poverty pay will continue to shame our sector.”
Professor Von Prondzynski recognised the need for increased diversity, transparency and equality when he produced his review on university governance. Davena said, ‘It is shameful that the universities were allowed to implement their own code of governance thus bypassing those measures most likely to increase diversity and transparency.
Davena called on university courts to reflect the diversity of their students and staff so they are better able to understand the impact of their decisions.
She said, “it is time the Scottish Government stopped talking about reforming higher education governance and moved to introduce legislation to implement the Von Prondzynski recommendations in full.’