A TOTAL of 375 campaigners have signed a petition calling for the next vice chancellor of Southampton University to take a lower salary.

University and College Union members say they want the new vice chancellor - who will replace Professor Sir Christopher Snowden - to be paid no more than 20 times the salary of the lowest paid member of staff.

UCU spokesperson Catherine Pope said: "We feel it's vital they get it right this time.

"We hope the [university] council will listen to staff.The issue for us is the very significant remuneration package that Sir Christopher has.

"And we still have some other staff in support roles that are not on the proper living wage.

"And the discrepancies between a £433,000 pay package and what some staff are living on is one of the things that people have real grievances over."

The petition is also calling for the new VC to "take a critical approach to the University strategy and 10 year plan and seeks to avoid further cuts to frontline staff," and to "Dedicates themselves in national and local debates on higher education, to a vision of Universities as public goods not just private economic ones."

A University spokesperson said: "As part of the recruitment process for the new President/Vice-Chancellor we’re making it possible for all staff and students to provide input.

"A key part of the process is a comprehensive consultation involving a survey in which all members of staff and students have been invited to provide their views.

"This will be followed by more extensive liaison with different internal and external stakeholders - including different academic groups and unions - all of which will be taken into consideration."

As reported Sir Christopher announced his retirement from the role just months ago.