A victory for the living wage campaign

Campaigners say there are still issues with the way that Bath University has chosen to pay its employees


After two years of hard campaigning, UNISON has welcomed the news that the University of Bath will now pay all staff the living wage.

Last year the university agreed to pay the living wage equivalent to all contracted staff, but refused to extend the agreement to casual workers, many of whom were struggling to survive on the minimum wage and zero-hours contracts.

But now a discretionary pay supplement has brought pay for all staff and casual workers up to the equivalent of £7.85 an hour.

FoI requests showed that Bath University employs more minimum wage staff than any other university in the country, and is one of the highest users of insecure zero-hours contracts.

UNISON, UCU, Unite and the Bath Students against Fees and Cuts campaign have been pushing the university to pay the living wage since this information was obtained.

Campaigners have staged a number of protests this year, highlighting pay inequality, poverty wages and job insecurity on campus. A petition calling for the living wage and an end to the excessive use of zero-hour contracts attracted more than 500 signatures.

Nick Moore, a second-year politics with economics student and UNISON member said:

“I’ve needed to work at the university to be able to afford to live and study here.

“This past year I’ve felt pretty undervalued, on low pay and a zero-hours contract, and it’s been difficult to get by, especially with increasing living costs.

“I’m so glad that we fought for this – the pay rise will really help me and many others.”

UNISON has consistently highlighted the issue of low pay for university support staff. Last month, along with other further education trade unions, they lodged a pay claim with the Association of Colleges, recommending that the living wage is the minimum pay rate in colleges with annual up-rating, and that colleges enter into discussion with the Living Wage Foundation on achieving accredited status.

Although UNISON have welcomed the latest decision, campaigners at Bath University still have concerns about the ‘discretionary supplement’ system. This essentially amounts to a tip added on top of low basic rates, and can be withdrawn at any time.

UCU say they will continue to fight to see it made permanent and consolidated, ensuring workers do not have to enter the same disputes every year.

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

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10 Responses to “A victory for the living wage campaign”

  1. Jack

    Low skills, low pay, because you’re easy to replace. High skills, high pay, because you aren’t. That might give you a hint about how to get on in life.

  2. damon

    I’m all for higher pay. It looks like it will cause a plateauing of wages that were a couple of pounds above minimum wage though. My recruitment agency have stuck on £8 an hour for 7.5 ton truck drivers for a couple of years now, and have been cutting down on guaranteed hours.
    It used to be eight for a day what ever you did. Then six, and I was just asked if I would work at one place with only four hours pay guaranteed. I said no. There’s hardly any point going there if you only get four hours for the day.
    The amount of surplus labour in the economy creates this great environment for employers.
    But many on the left still insist that open borders within Europe makes no difference to this market.

  3. littleoddsandpieces

    The Living Wage is more like £10 accrding to the TUC, but any increase is a start.

    Because wages below the Lower Earnings Level

    do not get automatic National Insurance credits

    and therefore the low waged / zero hour contracts

    are out of the welfare and

    will never get a state pension, their only pension provision in life.

    See end of my petition, in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:



    The flat rate state pension gives nil state pension for less than 10 years NI history.

    Whereas now you get some state pension from 1 years NI record.

    The flat rate pension grants nil state pension to housewives and widows, without NI record of their own from husban’ds NI contribuiton history.

    As women are the bulk of the low waged in the public sector, with more chance to be part time and have broken NI history, then this means they face penniless starvation if lose job under the even more massive austerity cuts to come.

    Universal Credit will means permanent sanctions from Hardship Payments becoming a recoverable loan by direct deducitons from court action.

    Universal Credit will sanction part time workers for failing to reach full time hours, when low waged part time has been the increase in jobs since 2008.

    Women especially are the carers for their elderly parents and disabled family / children.

    Carer’s Allowance will become part of Universal Credit.

    Disability Living Allowance being replaced by Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance (over 65s) will all be taxed and so reduced.


    Labour will not lose its safe seats. Labour appears on TV and in newspapers every day.

    But UNISON is not fully funding the advertising of TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialsit Coalition) that has UNISON trade union officials running as MP and councillor candidates.

    TUSC is the 6th biggest party and being entirely ignored altogether, despite reaching the threshold of over 130 MP candidates (and 1000 councillor candidates for the 6000 council elecitons on the same day) that should give the party fair media coverage.

    TUSC could win in Tory and Lib Dem marginals, especially in England, the biggest nation of the UK nations.

    A TUSC MP would be a support and confidence partner to Labour and utterly change Labour back to an anti austerity government.

    Tory and Labour are still only neck and neck and neither can reach the threshold of 323-326 MPs to form a majority, so will end up in the most severe hung parliament yet.

    Labour has lost the poor vote, which is more like 75 per cent of the population.

    So why is not UNISON paying the same money the union gave to Labour, to promote TUSC candidates in Tory and Lib Dem marginals in England.

    Because the poor vote, in or out of work, poor pensioners, poor disabled, now vastly outnumber all other voters and certainly the vote share that put the Tory or Lib Dem MP into the job in 2010.

    The most cost effective way is on me little website – with Adbcy bicycle trailers.

    UNISON might care (as individuals) to share my personal website on Twitter and Facebook pages

    (I’m not a memeber of anything, save a residual lifetime non-subscribing retired member of UNISON after a lifetime in work as a UNISON member):


  4. Guest

    No, what’s driving down pay is your right’s policy. And thanks for talking about how the agency you own are also doing it. And cutting guaranteed hours, etc.

    You keep demanding that the problem is not closing borders and cutting off trade, though, rather than your policies of job destruction.

  5. damon

    Piss off Leon you trolling idiot.
    I’m an agency worker. A driver, not an employer.
    And why are you calling me right wing? I support higher wages and cheaper rents for workers. That’s not right wing.
    And of course having an extra million people in the country competing for jobs affects pay and conditions. Why wouldn’t it, as its simple supply and demand.
    If they was suddenly another ten thousand dentists in the country, dentist charges would come down too.

  6. Guest

    “GO AWAY JEW”.

    And yes, as you’ve said, you deliver literature for your political Party. A play-job for your rich.

    You have said that, yes, you consider only your rich to be the real workers, and you’re all for higher wages and special subsidies for them. LB, you’ve constistently been anti-worker and anti-pension.

    As you chant the same old hate lies about immigrants, as you try and use simpl;istic crap to create fear and violence against the Other. As you show you don’t understand the NHS, as you whine about possibly *gasp* solving the shortage of dentists. Can’t be allowed, you have shares in private dentistry groups!

    Your *simplistic* (not simple) whittering about supply and demand, as you rage about the nastiness of allowing trade and the evils of seeing a black face on the street…

  7. damon

    If only there were another hundred insightful commentators like you on this website it would be really fantastic – wouldn’t it Leon?

  8. Guest

    You’re projecting from your own views again – your evident desire to crowd out all opther thought with your far right ranting, Lord Blagger. And your constant usage of many accounts with different user names.

    So you’re already most of the way there.

  9. treborc1

    Not the left, look Labour is now so right wing it makes the Tories look red, labour today has about fifteen left of center MP’s, most of the rest are either centrist or center right

    Progress now run the labour party.

  10. MichaelHFerguson

    22222Ultra Income source by leftfootforward Find Here

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