The College is renowned for its lavish May Balls, with past guests including Russell Kane, Pixie Lott, and the Vengaboys. Trinity May Ball

The Trinity College May Ball Committee has changed its rates of pay for its workers from the current UK minimum wage to the living wage.

Until Monday (31/01), it was the only committee to offer its May Ball workers aged under 20 the UK minimum wage (£6.83 per hour) and not the UK’s living wage (£9.18 per hour).

In an email to its hired workers, Trinity May Ball committee’s Personnel Officer, Bijou Kaye, stated that “After having a discussion with the rest of the committee at our latest meeting, we have decided to revise our pay rates.”

The change comes following a shift in the budget to address “concerns about our payment of minimum wage for workers under 21 at our Ball.”

Famously the richest college in Cambridge, with assets totalling £1.34bn in 2018, Trinity is renowned for its lavish May Balls, with past guests including Russell Kane, Pixie Lott and the Vengaboys.


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This comes following protests last November about the University’s plans to outsource its non-academic staff. Representatives from Unions, as well as students and staff, protested outside Senate House on 12/11.

It therefore came as a surprise to many that their pay for May Ball workers was over 25% lower than the UK’s current living wage and far behind rates of pay for other, less wealthy, colleges.

In an interview with Varsity, Claudia Feng, President of Trinity May Ball, stated that the decision to upgrade the rate of pay “wasn’t about external pressure at all” and that “it was something we were thinking about doing for the last few years…we just realised we hadn’t updated it.”

May Balls at the University of Cambridge take place at the end of each academic year following exams, and are black tie events that take place during ‘May Week’, the last week of Easter term. 

Trinity May Ball is renowned for being one of the most expensive events in the calendar, with a two-person ticket costing £410 in 2018. St John’s were the only other College to also charge over £200 per head- this despite tickets for other colleges’ costing typically half the price, such as Clare’s, which charged £75 per ticket in 2016. 

This year’s 156th May Ball will take place at Trinity on the 20th June, with three ticket options available: Standard, VIP or Dining. Trinity are offering reduced tickets for students on a Cambridge bursary of £330 for an internal double ticket rather than £375, although students will need to provide evidence of this to the Trinity May Ball committee.