Students, workers and local campaigners gathered outside the Clarendon Building yesterday calling for the University to pay its staff the real living wage for Oxford.
A wide range of student societies organised the campaign in tandem, including the Oxford Living Wage Campaign, Oxford Feminist Society, Oxford Migrants Society and Oxford Climate Justice Campaign.
The Oxford Living Wage is set at £10.02, already higher than the national real living wage of £8.21.
The City Council sets the wage at 95 per cent of the London Living Wage, which is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation. The Council is scheduled to increase the Oxford rate to £10.21 for 2020.
Only Blackfriars, Campion Hall and St Cross currently pay all their employees the Oxford Living Wage or above.
At the event student campaigners from St Anne’s discussed their expeiences in negotiating with college authorities, noting the typical ‘excuses’ deployed by bursars across Oxford. Councillor Martyn Rush said: “how ridiculous it was that an institution as wealthy as Oxford didn’t pay a wage sufficient to subsist in the city.”
According to a press release from Oxford Living Wage, the University does not pay all its staff this rate despite having the largest endowment of any UK university.
Earning £308.3 million from its investments in the 2017-18 financial year, the university is the largest employer across Oxfordshire.
A campaign spokesperson told Cherwell: “This action shows how important it is for the University and colleges to take action. The popularity of this cause among a wide range of those involved with the University and the wider city makes clear the University and colleges can no longer fly under the radar, and shirk their responsibility to pay a real living wage for Oxford, of £10.02ph.
“The Oxford Living Wage campaign is determined to continually ramp up pressure on Oxford – the wealthiest university in the UK by endowment- as the movement gains further support.”
The spokesperson added: “Today, we have brought together a wide range of interested parties, uniting both Town and Gown in support of the Oxford Living Wage. We’ve shown our resolve to demand for change in the University and college’s pay policy and set out why it is so important.
“Actions like these serve to raise awareness in Oxford – among students and the wider community – of the University’s failings, and hopefully in time will lead to more colleges adopting the Oxford Living Wage, as Campion Hall among others have done.”
In a statement made on the rally’s event page in advance of yesterday’s rally said: “Fair pay is essential to combat poverty— an individual in Oxford earning £9 an hour would only have £25.97 to spend on food each week.
“With this being a standard rate of pay at the University of Oxford and its colleges, we must demand more. If it’s not the Oxford Living Wage, it is a poverty wage. As living costs rise, the wage should too.”
This comes as part of a series of rallies and marches held by the Oxford Living Wage Campaign increase pressure on the University to raise pay for staff.
Oxford University have been contacted for a comment.