UCU calls for cap on college principals' pay

The University and College Union's congress calls for leaders' salaries to be limited to five times the median staff pay

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Member of the University and Colleges Union (UCU) have voted to lobby to limit principals’ pay.

At the further education sector conference, part of the UCU’s annual congress in Manchester, delegates voted unanimously to call on the government, devolved administrations and funding councils to limit principals’ pay to no more than five times the median pay of all employees, whether full or part-time.

For example, if median pay is £18,000, it would work out as a maximum principal pay level of £90,000. According to college accounts data, 17 colleges paid more than £200,000 in principal salary  in 2016-17, compared to 12 in 2015-16 and eight in 2014-15.

The text of the motion agreed at the congress noted that principals’ pay has “increased at a faster rate than lecturers’ pay”.

Chris Jones from Neath Port Talbot College spoke in favour of lobbying government to limit principals' pay. He said principals justify extra pay by claiming they have more responsibility now, but also have "more help than ever" with vice-principals and heads of schools.

Margot Hill, a UCU national executive committee member, told the conference: “To give everyone in my college a pay rise would still only equate to half a principals' salary.”

On the first day of the UCU congress, general secretary Sally Hunt hit out at principals, whom she accused of preaching austerity for others but rewarding themselves with “bumper pay rises”.

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