Universities must make tackling the “unacceptable” race pay gap a priority, the University and College Union (UCU) said today (Friday).

The union was responding to a BBC report which revealed that black and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at Russell Group universities face an average pay gap of 26% compared to their white colleagues.

UCU said its own research had shown that nine in ten (90%) of BAME staff in colleges and universities reported facing barriers to promotion, while more than seven in ten (72%) of university staff said they had experienced bullying and harassment. The union called on universities to work with trade unions to tackle barriers faced by BAME staff.

UCU head of equality, Helen Carr, said: ‘These findings show we still have a very long way to go in closing the pay gap for black and minority ethnic staff in our universities. Our own research shows that nine in ten BAME staff at universities report facing barriers to promotion, and seven in ten say they’ve experienced bullying and harassment at work.

‘It is absolutely unacceptable that BAME staff continue to be paid less and are under-represented at higher levels within our universities. Institutions must make it a priority to address the concerns of BAME staff and work with trade unions to tackle the barriers to progression they continue to face.’

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