College managers have called for a pay rise worth up to 13 per cent a year for the next three years. The bid from the Association for College Management comes as the lecturers' union Natfhe balloted members for strike action over pay and conditions.
The claim, part of a package presented by four unions to employers at a National Joint Forum meeting last month, includes a 6 per cent rise in each of the next three years, plus an additional merit award of up to 7 per cent as an annual non-consolidated lump sum.
The managers want a joint recommendation with the Association of Colleges for additional non-monetary rewards. They also want all managers to benefit from the same pay arrangements and conditions.
The ACM said the results of a nationwide survey revealed that colleges were experiencing management recruitment and retention problems because of low pay levels compared with other education and private sectors.
It added that the union's proposal for a medium and long-term pay policy for further education was the "first principle" on which its claim was based.
Ivor Jones, the employers' secretary for the forum, said the idea of a longer-term pay policy was "compelling" and "should be sold to the government".
But he added that union leaders should bear in mind that financial tensions in colleges were more acute this year, with a continuing 1 per cent efficiency squeeze putting most institutions under pressure.
Results of Natfhe's ballot for industrial action, beginning on May 22, are expected next week. The union has called for an immediate flat-rate annual increase of £3,000 for its full-time members and pro rata for part-timers from next year, plus a return to "silver book" style conditions.
Support staff are asking for a flat-rate increase of £1,000 or a 7.5 per cent rise, whichever is greater, while the Association of Teachers and Lecturers wants a 4.7 per cent salary increase for all grade staff from next year.