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Universities attacked for top pay secrecy

SCOTTISH universities have been accused of a lack of transparency after only two institutions revealed details of the salaries awarded to their principals.

Of the 15 universities north of the Border, just Glasgow and Stirling responded in full to a Freedom of Information request on the issue from the UCU Scotland union, which represents academics and support staff. More than half of the universities refused to release minutes from the remuneration committees that set principals' pay, while others provided heavily edited versions. UCU Scotland called for full details of pay awards and the reasons behind them to be published and said staff and student representatives should sit on the committees in future.

In January, Scottish university principals were accused of hypocrisy and greed after nearly half of them pocketed huge pay rises the previous year.

It was revealed the salary of Professor Gerry McCormac, principal of Stirling University, was £205,000 for 2012/13. Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of Glasgow University, received £258,000.

The highest-paid principal in ­Scotland is Professor Sir Jim McDonald, from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, who accepted an increase of 5% in 2012/13, bringing his salary to £262,500. The salaries dwarf those earned by senior UK politicians, with Prime Minister David Cameron, paid £142,000, and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond, entitled to £140,000.

Mary Senior, Scottish official for the UCU, said: "The time has come for the lid to be lifted on the murky world of remuneration committees and senior pay in our universities."

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