£3k Pay gap between men and women at Northampton College is '˜shameful' claims union chief

Women lecturers are paid more than £3,000 less at Northampton College - a report highlighting gender inequality in education has claimed today.

Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th March 2016, 1:56 pm
A report on the pay gap between genders in further education claims female lecturers at Northampton College are paid more than £3,000 less than men for "doing the same job."

The University and College Union (UCU) has today (Tuesday) published Holding Down Women’s Pay, a study that it says “names and shame” further education facilities with glaring pay disparities between men and women.

It claims Booth Lane based Northampton College ranks joint third in a league table of the top 30 English further education colleges with the biggest gender pay gaps between academic staff.

The college pays female lecturers an average £3,203 less a year than their male colleagues, to “do the same job” it claims, having obtained the information from Freedom of Information requests.

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Northampton College has disputed the claim, however saying the figures are deeply misleading.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: “Northampton College should not have allowed such shameful levels of pay inequality to persist. It’s nearly 50 years since the Equal Pay Act came into force and they’re still flying in the face of it.

“Today on International Women’s Day, we would like to see a firm commitment from sector leaders to close the gap and are offering to work with institutions such as Northampton College to put an end to pay inequality.’

In total 132 out of 203 of the English further education colleges that provided data to UCU, paid male lecturers an average of £1,000 more than women.

Kirklees College in Huddersfield was found to have the biggest pay disparity between men and women lecturers, £5,959.

The report claims that at the current rate of progress it will take until 2050 to close the gender pay gap in further education.

However a spokeswoman for Northampton College said it is “fully committed to paying all staff fairly and within the principles of equal pay for work of equal value.”

“Equality is a fundamental aspect of the culture of the college and we are disappointed that UCU have chosen to publish data, based on a survey that the College completed in good faith, without taking the time to understand the findings,” she said.

The spokeswoman claims the data does not create an accurate representation of how its female staff are paid as the stats relate to lecturers only.

She said the college employs a high proportion of teaching staff on an hourly paid basis and these contracts tend to be more attractive to women, enabling them to work more flexibly.

“There has been a failure to consider data associated with the remaining academic staff,” she said.

“For example, from the same data set provided to UCU, it is evident that female staff form approximately 67 percent of the cohort of academic staff with additional or management duties. When considering these academic staff, proportionately at this level, female staff are in fact paid slightly more than male.”

She said the UCU has not contacted the college to discuss the data, despite having the information since July 2015.

“What the figures don’t illustrate is the reality of what happens in practice and that crude calculations can be misleading to staff and to the public,” she concluded.

The College has scheduled an equal pay audit for 2016.