Bosses at some prominent universities had pay rises of over 8%, or £22,000, last year, new figures suggest.
Analysis of vice-chancellor pay at 19 Russell Group institutions show an average salary of £293,000 in 2012-13.
The figures from Times Higher Education magazine, reveal much higher rises for university top brass than the 1% agreed that year for rank-and-file staff.
Sally Hunt of the University and College Union (UCU) accused university managers of “startling hypocrisy”.
Times Higher looked at the pay of 19 vice-chancellors in the 24 strong Russell Group of research-based universities.
The figures showed that once pension payments were taken into consideration, those vice-chancellors received an average of £318,500 last year – up from £312,500 the year before.
At the top end of the range, David Eastwood at University of Birmingham had the highest declared basic salary of £400,000 while Craig Calhoun, incoming director of the London School of Economics, was paid a total of £466,000 which included a one off relocation payment from the United States of £88,000.
The magazine also looks at pay rises for bosses at non-Russell group institutions, with Steve West, vice-chancellor of the University of the West of England seeing his overall pay package reach £314,632.
The figures indicate an average salary rise of 8.1% and a 5.2% rise in overall benefits, calculates the magazine.
UCU says the figures are likely to anger university staff who it says have seen their pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2009.
The union has taken two one-day strikes over this year’s 1% pay offer. Members of Unite, Unison and the EIS unions also walked out with more action expected in 2014.
“Many vice-chancellors have talked down to their staff and told them to accept a 1% rise – representing yet another real-terms pay cut – as it is the best they can expect, while happily pocketing big sums themselves”, said Ms Hunt.
“Few people have ever bought the lie that we are all in this together, but these revelations are as insulting as they are unfair. With further disruption set for the new year, if the dispute is unresolved, these controversial rises will galvanise union members who are determined to fight for fair pay.”
Last year was also the first year of higher tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year for undergraduates.
Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group, said the salaries of vice-chancellors “reflect their roles leading extremely complex international organisations with annual turnovers of more than half a billion pounds on average”.
Ms Piatt added that it would be “very misleading” to link the pay rises to tuition fees, because she said “increased income from fees in England has largely offset significant government cuts to public teaching grants”. (BBC News)