The chief executive of Tamworth Co-Operative Society was granted a ten per cent rise to take his pay package to £117,000 – as sales and dividend payouts tumbled.
Julian Coles saw his pay and pensions package rise from £106,000 to £117,000 in the last financial year while staff numbers fell and the society warned in its annual report of ‘very difficult economic conditions.”
Other members of the Staffordshire society’s five-strong management executive also enjoyed pay increases, with combined salaries rising to a total of £388,000.
The management pay rises at the society – one of the few remaining independent co-operatives in the UK – brought an angry reaction from union Usdaw and disgruntled members.
Usdaw regional official Darren Matthews said his members would be seeking corresponding increases to match Mr Coles’ most recent rise when pay talks at the society are held next month.
“These are certainly concerning figures for our members. This is something that Usdaw will be raising through our normal negotiations with the company, when our members will be expecting the same sort of increase,” he said.
In its most recent annual report for the 53 weeks to January 26 2013, the society says: “The economic conditions remain very difficult and specifically regarding retail operations recent months have seen the failure of a number of relatively large high-profile retailing organisations.”
Me Coles said he had overseen a rise in pre-tax profits to £147,000, from £66,000. He added: “The Tamworth Co-operative Society is transparent in all its financial dealings, including the salary of senior managers who, I would like to stress, have no input into the level of pay increases they receive.
“Executive salaries are set by a remuneration committee and full details were published in our annual report several months ago. No issues were raised at that time, or indeed at the Society’s AGM on April 24, when members were pleased to note the financial progress being made.
“My own salary increase for the period in question would have amounted to 2.5 per cent, had it not been for a bonus payment I received for hitting targets, also set by the remuneration committee. However, I would like to make it very clear that hitting targets set by the committee, in the context of tough economic times, is something I am proud of because strong management performances can help safeguard jobs.”