In these strike-ridden days it’s difficult to discover the smallest ray of comfort. Enter the vice-chancellor of King’s College London, Edward Byrne.
Professor Byrne, who manages to keep the wolves from the door with an annual salary of £425,000, has seized the moment to offer some valuable words of advice to all those academics who are currently facing a cut of £10,000 a year to their pension entitlement.
In a message to all his academic staff, Professor Byrne proposes “an integrated approach” to the forthcoming Acas talks, which would include a consideration of “how to encourage more staff to save for their retirement”.
According to Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, this is very much “a breakthrough suggestion”. “If only more staff had prudently tucked away a little of their own money for the rainy days of retirement, all this present fuss about a decent pension could have been avoided.”
We understand that Professor Byrne has so far declined to say if he himself is following this “rainy day” philosophy as he ponders a future retirement on a pension whose size has been estimated by an insider as one that “could exceed the wildest dreams of an Eastern Mogul”.
Solidarity for ever
As the strike action over changes to the pension scheme continues, we are pleased to bring all our readers a brand new column in which Mr Ted Odgers, a profoundly unreconstructed militant from the Department of Media and Cultural Studies, answers your questions about the best manner in which to show solidarity with your fellow strikers.
Our first question comes from Dr P. Q. Manners of our Department of Mindfulness:
Dear Mr Odgers,
Please excuse me for emailing you out of the blue, but I wonder if you could tell me whether it is justifiable to issue tweets or send emails or post blogs on strike days? In the absence of any official guidance I have been performing these online activities in the evening. Is this correct industrial practice?
Dear Dr Manners,
I’m afraid that I’m unable to respond to your enquiry as I’m currently on strike and therefore not answering emails. I hope that this helps.
Last week, we brought you the touching story of how the Maltese dog Oscar, owned by Max Lu, the vice-chancellor of the University of Surrey, was relocated from Australia to his new English home at the modest cost of £1,600. It was a story that stirred our readers’ hearts and several have asked for an update on Oscar’s current state of health.
We’re delighted to be able to say that Oscar is now more or less his old fluffy self. However, there are some reports that his cute smile is now less pronounced and that there are times when his brow appears to be furrowed by what can only be described as a frown.
However, a spokesperson for the university has described as “dangerously anthropomorphic” the suggestion that there is a link between Oscar’s frown and the dog’s discovery that he is being widely used in the media as a symptom of the extravagant perks enjoyed by UK vice-chancellors.