The pay package of the average CEO of Irish listed companies amounts to €2.1 million a year.
This shocking figure comes at a time when workers’ pay has still not recovered from cuts imposed during the Celtic Tiger crash.
The gap between the pay package of company bosses and the workers who actually make their profits is widening.
A worker in CRH, the huge cement company, would have to work 151 years to get the yearly income of its CEO.
A worker in Kerry Group would have to work 113 years to reach the yearly income of their company boss.
The pay packages of bosses usually have a number of elements – basic pay, bonuses and shares. They also get benefits in kind – such as use of a fancy car.
While workers like those at Irish life fight to keep their existing pension schemes, company bosses get generous pension packages. The Irish state props up this inequality by giving tax breaks on these schemes, up to a cap of €5 million.
The pay packages of CEOs are determined by remuneration committees, which are made up of handpicked members of a board of directors. No worker sits on a remuneration committee of any Irish company.
So while company bosses determine the pay of workers, workers are never even consulted on the pay of their bosses.
People Before Profit wants to tackle this gross inequality. That is why we favour a legal maximum income that no one is allowed to earn above.
The level which this will be set at can be a matter for public debate but, first, we want to win acceptance of the principle of such a wage.
That way we will end the obscene gap between the workers and CEOs.