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Lecturers “furious” at Coleg y Cymoedd chief’s £46,000 pay rise

Published in News at 09:50, Friday January 23rd, 2015. Last updated at 21:23, Wednesday February 4th, 2015

By Gareth Hill

PAY RISE: Coleg y Cymoedd principal Judith Evans

PAY RISE: Coleg y Cymoedd principal Judith Evans

A college principal has been given a 47% pay rise – despite teachers having to fight for a wage increase of 1%.

University and College Union (UCU) members at Coleg y Cymoedd unanimously supported a vote of no confidence in the governing body, after they approved a £46,000 pay increase for principal Judith Evans.

This saw her pay increase from £98,916 in 2013/14 to £145,000 for the current academic year.

The top wage possible for a lecturer is £37,000, according to UCU Branch Secretary Guy Stoate.

He said lecturers start on £23,000 but support staff can earn much less, meaning “her pay rise alone is equivalent to two jobs”.

College lecturers were not offered a wage increase, but were given a below inflation 1% rise after threatening strike action.

Workers claim the pay offer amounts to an attack on their living conditions, which “have already dropped by a fifth over a period of six years”.

Union members supported the vote of no confidence after being told they also face job losses, with management seeking voluntary redundancies.

They reaffirmed their opposition to compulsory redundancies and will ballot for industrial action should any be announced.

A statement by UCU read: “The mood of the branch was clear; staff are angry and want to send a message to those in charge of strategic leadership and governance of Coleg y Cymoedd that loyal and hard-working staff are not merely objects to be treated in a disparaging way, but are real assets to their learners, communities and local economy.

“The governing body need to be reminded that learners learn in the conditions under which teachers teach.”

Mr Stoate said: “At the meeting staff were incensed to learn that the principal had been given a huge wage hike. Members were furious that the governors had agreed this at a time when the rest of us are facing possible redundancies.”

A Coleg y Cymoedd spokeswoman said: “The decision regarding the salary for the principal’s post was taken nearly two years ago in the context of the merger of two colleges, when the governors asked an independent expert to recommend a salary which reflected the fact that the institution had doubled in size.

“In common with some other senior salaries at the time, the salary for this post was set at the Welsh median level. The increase was paid in two phases with the second phase taking effect in August last year.

“Since that review two years ago there has unfortunately been a cut in further education funding, which has had an impact on staff numbers and placed constraints on staff salaries.

“However it should be pointed out that the increase in staff salaries that Coleg y Cymoedd governors agreed this year is in line with the further education sector in Wales generally.

“This decision was taken before the vote on strike action and was not influenced by that vote. We are surprised by this motion of no confidence given that the union had not previously raised this issue with the governors or sought clarification on the salary review process.”

Coleg y Cymoedd was formed in August 2013 when Ysrad Mynach College merged with Coleg Morgannwg.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ms Evans’ pay rise would be £44,000.


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