THERE IS always interest in the boss's pay. Is he worth that much, and how does it relate to my salary? For the first time, a table of the pay of all further education college principals is published (FE Focus, page 30) - at our instigation, not that of the sector itself or of the Government. It contains few surprises. Big colleges pay more than small ones. Newcomers to the principal's chair tend to come in at a level below that of their predecessor. Rates of pay are not excessive. If you want to become a fat cat, steer clear of the public sector.
Yet the college unions will find cause for concern. The differential between senior management and classroom lecturers has grown. Since incorporation and the end of national pay-setting, annual settlements have been tortuous to achieve. Historic conditions of service, which should be looked at in isolation, have become mixed up in pay negotiations that ought to be concerned with national inflation and lecturers' workload. There is resentment because different colleges pay different salaries for the same job. The fact that individual principals' salaries also vary is no defence: their jobs differ much more widely than, say, those of lecturers in engineering.
Just as colleges are unlikely to be restored to local government, whatever the views of some politicians on the hustings, so uniformity in pay bargaining will not readily be conceded by managements, time consuming though college-by-college negotiations inevitably are. Openness, however, is one way to avoid anomalies.