Over the past month, a wave of actions have sprung up on university campuses across the UK, highlighting the pay gap between the highest and lowest paid staff on each campus.
Groups of students worked out how many days into the year the highest paid (the vice chancellor) would earn the entire annual wage of the lowest paid worker, and organised protests and mock-parties to “celebrate” on that day. In Birmingham, David Eastwood's pay exceeds an annual sum of £450,000, taking only thirteen days to earn what the lowest paid worker does in a year, on top of which the university also pays for his house and all of his travel expenses.
The idea originally came from a group of students from the University of Bath, in a bid to embarrass their Vice Chancellor and create a positive protest atmosphere in which to attract new activists.
The pay disparity outlined by the now national protests was virtually unknown to the majority of people, and because of the outright lack of logic behind the difference in pay, students have been drawn in to the campaign.
On many of these campuses, the lowest paid workers (often migrant cleaners) are on zero-hour contracts and are not even earning the living wage, so the idea that VCs can pay themselves so much and be deserved of a bonus on top of that would be hysterical if it wasn't so cruel.