ICTU slams rising CEO pay levels

ICTU slams rising CEO pay levels

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has criticised rising chief executive pay levels, saying they are increasingly out of touch with average worker pay conditions.

The trade union umbrella group's own research found that average total pay levels for chief executives of listed Irish companies increased by 6% in 2017. 

It noted CRH boss Albert Manifold's €8.6m total remuneration package for that year and the €3.6m paid to Paddy Power's chief.

"The report points to the astronomical sums of money paid to some CEOs in comparison to modest pay claims of Irish workers. Some CEOs seem impervious to the pressures faced by workers including childcare and housing," said ICTU general secretary Patricia King.

"According to the CSO, average earnings in 2017 were €37,646. For the third year in a row, the greatest variance between the average worker's wage and the top CEO's is in CRH. It would take an average worker 230 years to earn what the CEO earned in 2017," said ICTU industrial officer Peter Rigney.

"This is closely followed by Kerry Group at 214 years and DCC at 141 years. Even at the lowest paid CEO, that of Aminex, it would still take nine years for the average worker to earn what the CEO earned in 2017”, he said.

"The upward trajectory of CEO pay continues unabated, notwithstanding growing concern at this phenomenon. However, the consensus on high pay is changing. There is a lessening degree of acceptance by shareholders, proxy advisors or by society as a whole that executive pay should continue on an unlimited upward trajectory," said Ms King. 

ICTU acknowledged that the way companies report on executive pay has become more rigorous. 

That trend is set to continue with Dublin-listed firms being obliged to follow the guidelines of the UK's Financial Reporting Council. New and more rigorous FRC guidelines are also set to become effective in 2020. 

However, Dr Rigney said: "It remains to be seen whether the effect of these new guidelines is to slow the rate of increase of corporate pay or merely to illustrate an unrelenting upward trend in greater detail."

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