By Zoe Kramer | Head of News
The decision to conduct this payment was reportedly due to an intervention from a union representative when the topic of outstanding performance was being discussed. Promotion processes, which were postponed during the pandemic, have also been reinstated.
“Many academic staff have come on to campus in order to teach of course, and when working from home many people have had to juggle childcare and home schooling with long days on Zoom,” said Vice-Chancellor Colin Riordan in his monthly email.
“The truth is, just as the pandemic by definition affects the whole world, it has affected all our staff. We were persuaded that a one-off payment to all staff would be the right response, and that £250 per person, paid at the end of this month, would be an appropriate amount.”
“I was able to present this initiative at our most recent Council meeting, and members were universally supportive. It has been a uniquely difficult year, and there will doubtless be more tribulations to come before the pandemic subsides into the background. That is why I want to finish this email by reiterating my heartfelt thanks to all staff of Cardiff University.”
Staff working at the institution have previously raised concerns over their wages and their treatment at the hands of Cardiff University. Strike action was occurring frequently prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, UCU members have reported receiving 20% less pay than they otherwise would have, had their wages kept up with inflation.
During these strikes, the UCU raised four disputes. They were concerned about pensions being reduced under the Universities Superannuation Scheme, the increase of low and zero-hour contracts, heavy workloads, as well as gender and ethnic inequalities between members of staff.
In response to these concerns, Cardiff University have stated that they routinely conduct their own equal pay audits, but accept they still have work to do as do all across the wider higher education sector.
The University expressed that it remains committed to identifying the causes of the pay gap and is working to find solutions, including: encouraging career development and providing development opportunities for individuals affected by the pay gap; creating external benchmarks; and in recruitment, employees undertake unconscious bias training, for example.
The pandemic has further complicated the situation, disrupting work across all sectors in new and unprecedented ways. Riordan stated that this £250 gift was meant to “recognise the unparalleled commitment that all our staff have shown, whatever their role.”
Whether this £250 ‘thank you’ will help improve the relationship between the staff and the University is yet to be determined.