I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but I guess this is yet another sign of my incipient depression.

A few days after the Spanish elections the Catalan government insidiously announced yet another paycut for civil servants, something between 1 and 3% to be deducted off the extra month’s salary paid in June and December. Oh, well, we all said: it could have been worse. Now it IS worse, much worse. The announcement yesterday was that the salary ‘complements’ would be drastically reduced. Last time I checked complements made up about half my salary, so I am right now in a panic. I can’t imagine what it is like for university teachers with young children and a mortgage.

All this came on the same day when someone explained to me that the rumour circulating among our school’s students is that we teachers are paid between 4,000 and 7,000 euros a month, with some UAB employees making as much as 120,000 a year if in top admin positions. In other circumstances this would be a very funny joke… Right now it sounds plain ridiculous.

A young tenured teacher (meaning a new ‘titular’, between ages 35-40) makes around 2000 euros a months (net income I mean). Complements for seniority, research and the implementation of new teaching methodologies may bring that up to 2,500/2,600… after about 10 years. The basic salary, on which our pensions are calculated, is not quite 1,200 euros. For the next step up the ladder, full professor, what varies, once more, are the complements. A professor (a category achieved between ages 45-55 usually) makes 600 more euros a month, so around 3,100. Some may make more, again, because of seniority, research and teaching innovations. But very few, if any, make 4,000 a month. Maybe one or two about to retire (we retire at 70, remember?)

I have no idea what the Rector makes monthly for running the UAB on top of her full professor salary but I can say that as head of Department (2005-2008) I got a paltry 300 extra euros a month. And those were the good times. Managing a team of about 40 people brought in daily problems and plenty of stress all through three years, which that money could by no means compensate.

Yesterday, on the news they explained that for young people to be able to afford housing in any of Spain’s major cities average salaries should be around 2,350 euros. Ergo: soon, not even hyperqualified university teachers will be able to buy a decent flat, much less a house. We might become squatters at our own workplaces if things go on like this.