University sitting on £1.7bn in reserves and paid record-breaking vice chancellor salary

Pay strikes at London’s Imperial College will stretch into their fourth month, as more than 200 members of Unite, the UK’s leading union, prepare to walkout on Thursday (23 February).

The workers are striking over the imposition of a 3.3 per cent pay offer for 2022/23 by Imperial College, which Unite says is a clear 10.1 per cent pay cut when the real rate of inflation, RPI, is running at 13.4 per cent.  

Imperial College’s latest financial figures shows it brought in an income of over £1.2 billion for 2021/22 and had cash reserves of £1.7 billion. 

Further, Imperial College is one for the best paying universities for senior leadership staff. Until July 2022, the university employed the UK’s highest paid vice chancellor with an annual pay package worth £714,000, a massive increase of 35.5 per cent on the previous year. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is another staggering tale of greed at the top but pay cuts for the cleaners. Imperial College is sitting on billions and can well afford to pay fairly.  

“Unite is determined to ensure that it does just that. Unless a fair pay rise is tabled the strikes will continue.” 

The workers, including cleaners, technicians and maintenance and security staff, also took strike action in November and January. Unite says that more strikes will be announced if Imperial College's management fails to put forward a better offer.

Unite national officer Andy Murray said: “The resolve of Imperial College’s workforce is rock solid. They know their employer can well afford to put forward a better offer. This dispute will continue to escalate unless Imperial College offers an acceptable deal.”

The dispute also involves members of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) employed at Imperial College. 

Imperial College negotiates pay directly with staff, so the dispute is not part of the wider higher education strike action involving the University and Colleges Employers Association. 


For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected] 

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.