||Issue No. 321||25 August 2006|
Interview: A Life And Death Matter
Unions: Fighting Back
Industrial: What Cowra Means
Environment: Scrambling for Energy Security
Politics: Page Turner
Economics: The State of Labour
International: Workers Blood For Oil
History: Liberty in Spain
Review: Go Roys, Make A Noise
The Locker Room
Hardie, Ha, Ha - Directors Laughing
Chair Meredith Hellicar, whose actions in the massive tax-compo rort are still being reviewed by authorites, wants nearly $400,000 a year, in contravention of a 2004 assurance given to asbestos disease sufferers.
Longtime asbestos campaigner, Bernie Banton, confirmed James Hardie had promised not to seek increases for directors until a $1.5 billion asbestos compensation arrangement was finalised.
That arrangement, thrashed out with the ACTU and NSW government, is in limbo over the compensation fund's tax status.
Banton labelled the Hardie directors' latest cash grab "outrageous".
James Hardie revealed last week that it would put directors' fees increases to a vote of shareholders.
Part-time directors want fees doubled to around $130,000 a year, not including stock, while the proposal would see Hellicar's salary jump by more than 50 percent to $394,000 a year.
The move follows the company's decision to reward the two executives at the centre of the compensation scandal, after it was uncovered by a NSW government inquiry.
In October, 2004, James Hardie gave golden handshakes to chief executive, Peter McDonald, and chief financial officer, Peter Shafron, of $8.83 million and $1.25 million, respectively.
At the time, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was considering legal action against McDonald and Shafron, after the Jackson Inquiry recommended charges be laid for breaches of corporations law.
Hellicar was a member of the Hardie board when it decided to relocate to the Netherlands in a tax manoeuvre that also saw it deny liability to compensate thousands of Australians dying from contacts with its products.
Evidence to the Jackson Inquiry suggested it misled the Supreme Court in its effort to rid itself of Australian obligations.
The inquiry was launched after a vigorous union campaign, spearheaded by AMWU NSW officials, Paul Bastian and Jan Primrose.
Last month, James Hardie gave new CEO, Louis Gries, a $2.5 million pay rise.
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