Uni­ver­si­ties in £1.3m pay outs

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Sam Peth­er­ick Chief re­porter @sam­peth­er­ick | 01225 322213 sam.peth­er­[email protected]­plc.com

Bath’s two uni­ver­si­ties spent more than £1.3 mil­lion in five years on non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments with staff, it can be re­vealed. Bath Spa Univer­sity paid out £676,268 to 12 em­ploy­ees be­tween 2014 and 2017. Univer­sity of Bath used £635,000 on ‘COT3 agree­ments’ with be­tween 33 and 37 em­ploy­ees in the five aca­demic years from 2013-14 to 2017-18. The ex­act num­ber of staff who signed agree­ments has not been dis­closed by the univer­sity. The fig­ures were given un­der free­dom of in­for­ma­tion laws. An in­di­vid­ual who signs a non-dis­clo­sure or set­tle­ment agree­ment typ­i­cally waives their rights to mak­ing an em­ploy­ment tri­bunal claim ac­cord­ing to em­ploy­ment ser­vice Acas. The set­tle­ments have been re­ferred to as “gag­ging clauses” and were brought into the spot­light by high pro­file cases such as the Pres­i­dents Club din­ner and Har­vey We­in­stein. A union spokesman said there was a risk that work­ers could be dis­ad­van­taged if they en­ter into one, and that it would “never con­done” do­ing so as a means of re­solv­ing em­ploy­ment dis­putes that posed a risk to work­ers. One of the uni­ver­si­ties said it en­tered the agree­ments to avoid lengthy dis­agree­ments and po­ten­tial le­gal bills and con­fi­den­tial­ity clauses were “stan­dard prac­tice”. De­tails of in­di­vid­ual pay­ments have not been dis­closed, but pay­ments at the Univer­sity of Bath av­er­age £17,162 per per­son – slightly above the fourth low­est salary on its pay struc­ture. Bath Spa’s av­er­age was more than three times higher – at £56,355. The Univer­sity of Bath said its “pref­er­ence is to re­solve any dis­agree­ments us­ing in­for­mal res­o­lu­tion and me­di­a­tion. “In rare cases where this is not pos­si­ble, both par­ties may de­cide that a more for­mal agree­ment on how to pro­ceed is needed,” it said.

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