Imperial College Union’s Executive Committee voted last night to break the link between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council phD study grant and the salaries paid to the Union’s sabbatical officers. As previously reported the EPSRC grant is expected to rise substantially over the next few years, to a level which could see the Union facing an additional staffing bill of £20,000 a year by 2005-6.
ICU Exec voted overwhelmingly to link sabbatical salaries with a clerical pay grade at a roughly equal value to the current salaries despite some opposition on the basis that sabbatical salaries should be linked to a student stipend rather than a clerical pay scale. Deputy President (Education & Welfare) Andrew Smith was particularly vociferous in his opposition to breaking the EPSRC link. Mr Smith suggested instead that the EPSRC link should be maintained, but that the value of the sabbatical free room in halls should be deducted from the total, effectively cutting the net salaries for the sabbaticals. Mr Smith failed to make his point effectively however until after the meeting, leading many to suspect that ICU Exec will be asked to reconsider its decision at the next meeting. Mr Smith said that he believed linking to the EPSRC was “much fairer” and that “in the long term [it] should be adequate”.