Stark variations revealed in pay and conditions
Staff can earn twice as much in one college as in another for doing a similar job, according to a survey that reveals the scale of the disparities in pay and conditions in Scotland's colleges.
A survey by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), obtained by TESS, also shows significant differences in holiday entitlement and working hours.
The analysis was carried out after the SFC was asked by the Scottish government to map pay and conditions after a recommendation by the Griggs review to return to national bargaining across the sector.
The average salary of heads of faculty or school and functional manager posts, for example, could range from #163;35,683 to #163;70,000 per annum, the figures show.
The disparities in basic pay for teaching staff were also significant. For basic-grade lecturers, the average salary ranged from #163;31,009 to #163;37,274 per year, while at assistant principal, associate principal or director level, the average salary ranged from #163;50,321 to #163;75,975 per annum, a difference of more than #163;25,000.
The variations were not limited to teaching staff, but also occurred for support and corporate staff. Student services managers, for example, were earning between #163;25,572 and #163;53,200 - a range of #163;27,628.
The report said that there were many factors that could influence rates of pay. The range was explained in part by different responsibilities within different colleges, particularly for corporate and support staff, it stated.
It also said that "the variation in the range of salaries for some groups may also be explained as the result of local pay bargaining over a period of many years".
The number of hours teaching staff spend in class also varies widely, the survey revealed. Although promoted lecturers most commonly had 18 hours of class contact time, this ranged from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the college.
Two-thirds of colleges reported that their basic-grade lecturers were entitled to 60 days' annual leave, but at the remaining colleges the number was set anywhere between 55 and 65. The number of days of annual leave entitlement for curriculum managers ranged from 41 to 65 days.
The disparities in pay and conditions show the challenge ahead of the recently established national bargaining development group. Its chair, Ian McKay, said that the wide variations showed "much scope for greater coherence".
"The group will now focus its efforts on developing recommendations for a future national collective bargaining framework for the college sector," he said.
A spokesman for the EIS, which represents teaching staff at colleges, said the union had long campaigned for a return to national pay bargaining and would continue to engage constructively in discussions aimed at delivering a national bargaining framework to ensure "fair pay and conditions for all lecturing staff in the future".
The wide disparity in pay and conditions of college staff was one reason why the government was seeking to introduce national pay bargaining for colleges, a government spokesman said.
He added: "The Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill contains measures designed to pave the way for national pay bargaining and a team to take this work forward is in place."
#163;6,265 - range in average salary of basic-grade lecturers.
#163;9,826 - range in their minimum salary.
#163;18,974 - range in minimum salary of promoted lecturers.
#163;34,952 to #163;47,250 per annum - average salary of curriculum managers.
#163;50,321 to #163;75,975 per annum - average salary at assistant principal, associate principal or director level.
#163;16,668 to #163;31,801 per annum - average salary for student advisers in finance.
#163;25,572 to #163;53,200 per annum - average salary for students services managers.