|Issue No. 156
|11 October 2002
Work and the Meaning of Life
Interview: The Wet One
Bad Boss: Like A Bastard
Unions: Demolition Derby
Corporate: The Bush Doctrine
Politics: American Jihad
Health: Secret Country
Review: Walking On Water
Poetry: The UQ Stonewall
Month In Review
The Locker Room
Direct Voting Rights
Iraq is a Gobalisation Issue Too
Letter to George Dubya
WTO and Schools
Qantas Directors Bust Wages Freeze
Qantas unions are encouraging workers with Qantas shares to give them proxies to add weight to their push to block the increases, sought against the backdrop of last yearï¿½s wage freeze.
The resolutions will be put to the Qantas AGM next Thursday seeking to lift non-executive director's fees from $1.1 million to $1.6 million.
The Labor Council of NSW has called on union members with Qantas shares to forward their proxies to the Australian Services Union (ASU) or the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) who will be opposing the increase at the AGM.
The rise comes at a time when Qantas shares have dropped significantly, despite their dominance of the Australian airline market.
"The Federal Government is saying that self-discipline is required. This government is unable or unwilling to legislate," says NSW Labor Council Secretary John Robertson.
"The Government needs to legislate as boards are unable to control their greed and are out of touch with community expectations."
Cole's King Hit
Meanwhile, the Australian Workers Union's Bill Shorten has raised Qantas and other executive payments while in the witness box at the Cole Royal Commission into the Building Industry.
Shorten outlined some of the more outrageous bonus schemes, options and severance packages recently collected by executives. These include:
ï¿½ Suncorp Metway chief executive Steve Jones collecting almost $30 million in salary and severance pay.
ï¿½ BHP Billiton's former chief executive Paul Anderson leaving with an $18.3 million package.
ï¿½ Westfield Holdings chief executive Frank Lowy collecting $11.9 million,
ï¿½ Wesfarmers chief executive Michael Chaney getting $8 million in incentives and salary last year
ï¿½ Commonwealth Bank chief David Murray receiving almost $7 million.
ï¿½ $3.5 million payout to former Ansett chief Gary Toomey
"It is little wonder [Qantas director] Margaret Jackson and John Ralph prefer cosy self regulation of corporate salaries." says Shorten.
Shareholder activist Neal Woolrich pointed out the hypocricy of the Qantas move, coming as it does on the back of management's attempts to impose a wage freeze.
"Shareholders should ask the sort of questions that management might ask the rank and file employees who put in a pay claim," says Woolrich.
"Have the directors become a 36% more efficient group during the year? Has the job of directing the company become 36% more difficult during the year? Has the company expanded its activities to such an extent that the job of directing the company has become 36% more time-consuming? Is there a pressing need for 36% more talent in the pool of directors?"
"It just shows the contempt that they have for the process - it seems that all they consider it to be is a rubber-stamping job and therefore they don't have to put any effort into justifying their case."
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