Stirling’s Sabbatical officers are looking to campaign for a fairer wage.
In February, BRIG posted on Instagram a video of VP Communities, Alyson Mackay speaking outside of the Scottish Parliament during the Rally for Education.
In her speech, Mackay said: “I grew up in an incredibly impoverished family. I am a first generation university student. I have learning difficulty.
“I didn’t think I’d make it to university but I foolishly thought that by the time I did… I really did think maybe just maybe having a degree would change my future.
“But I’ve finished my degree now. I’m a sabbatical officer, I’m severely underpaid for the amount of work I do and I don’t see this cycle changing anytime soon.”
Mackay also said: “our lecturers, our staff, our commercial staff that work in these charities, they are all underpaid. A charity is supposed to exist because a government is not filling a need.
“… every single one of us here is a part of a charity… why do we need charity to be protesting, rallying outside parliament for fair working conditions.”
Speaking to the crowd, Mackay said there was not enough support coming from the government and more was needed now.
BRIG spoke to Mackay and told us they are not underpaid in a legal sense, they do make more than minimum wage.
According to a figures we obtained Stirling Sabbatical officers make £17,689.16 per year. In comparisons, the SAABs at the University of Edinburgh make £23,000 per year.
This salary can only be changed by the Block Grant- which the Students Union receive from the university to fund the union.
Mackay says they need this to be increased because it’s not just the Sabbatical officers that are affected, “it’s pretty much every member of staff in our Student’s Union.
In a statement, Mackay said:”Working in a third sector organisation obviously means none of our staff members took the job expecting to make a huge wage, all of the staff care about improving the lives of students in Stirling.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t want and deserve fair pay, when we compare our sabbatical salaries to the sector average ours is noticeably lower. In some instances, this is significantly less despite our roles covering more areas of responsibility than some counterparts.
“We wouldn’t even be aware of this if it wasn’t for the relationships our team has been able to build with other sabbatical officers around the country.
“The idea that it’s rude to discuss salaries seems to exist to stop people from realising what they could be getting paid and asking for more.
“Depending on the Students’ Union block grant outcome, there should be an increase for future sabbaticals at Stirling – I’m really glad I persisted in getting this for future sabbs.
“Across the whole UK, I think, sabbaticals and all staff in Students’ Unions/Associations are paid less than they deserve for vital, often unnoticed work.”
A university spokesperson said: “The Students’ Union is an independent, commercial operation and is responsible for decisions on remuneration.
“The University fully supports a vibrant Students’ Union and will continue to be a key funder of the Union and its services.”
Feature Image credit: – Brig Newspaper