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Date: Tue 11 December 2012

Napier principal’s offer is nothing like a fair Christmas bonus - UNISON

UNISON members at Edinburgh’s Napier  University have criticised a Christmas bonus proposed by the principal on the grounds that it is “unfair and unworthy”.

Cleaners and portering staff would receive less than £80 extra in their Christmas paypackets compared with the bumper gift of over a thousand pounds which Professor Dame Joan Stringer would be awarding herself.

UNISON Regional Organiser Emma Phillips said:
“The principal’s Christmas message tells all staff they have provided valued work to help achieve success for the university. Yet the unusual ‘special payment’ she proposes is a ‘one off payment of 0.5% of your annual salary plus £100 (pro-rated for part time staff)’.

“When you work it out, this means that the many cleaning, catering and portering staff who are part-time would get £79.66 – but the principal herself, on a salary in excess of £200,000 and soon to retire on a fairly decent pension, would pick up more than a thousand pounds.”

Marilyn Philip, UNISON branch chair at Napier University, said:
“Our members find it odd in the current crisis and with proposed cuts in university funding that their management feel they can use public money in this way. Poor pay awards and the rising cost of living have left our staff on lower pay much worse off. Within the last three years this same university found itself to be £6 million in debt virtually overnight and compulsory redundancies were made.

“We believe that this Christmas offer is unfair and unworthy. A fairer way to use the resources would be to give all staff the same amount instead of a 0.5% one off payment.

“There might be nothing like a Dame – but this is nothing like a fair Christmas bonus.”


For further information please contact:
Marilyn Philip, UNISON Napier University Branch chair, on 07929 632 483
Emma Phillips, UNISON Regional Organiser, on 07538101221
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, UNISON Scotland, 0141 342 2877 or 078765 66978

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing over 160,000 members working mainly in the public sector in Scotland – including staff in higher and further education.

2. By UNISON’s calculation on the basis of the salary point scales at Napier, the part-time catering and portering staff - on grade 2 - would get £79.66 at bottom of scale, bearing in mind  also many of the catering/cleaning staff are part time and this will be pro-rated. A senior manager - grade 10 - would get £467.51 and the Principal - on over £200,000 salary would get over £1,000.