Ordinary worker would need 212 years to earn what CRH CEO did last year

Ictu report shows 13 CEOs were paid more than 50 times ordinary salary in 2018

An Irish Congress of Trade Unions  report estimates it would take an ordinary worker 212 years to earn the same as CRH chief executive  Albert Manifold  in 2018.

An Irish Congress of Trade Unions report estimates it would take an ordinary worker 212 years to earn the same as CRH chief executive Albert Manifold in 2018.

 

A new report drawn up by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) estimates it would take an ordinary worker 212 years to earn what the chief executive of building materials company CRH, Albert Manifold, took home in 2018.

Trade unions have called for new rules to tackle remuneration of top executives in Irish companies, which they maintain is significantly outstripping pay for employees.

The Ictu assessment looked at accounts filed by 26 companies – 20 of whom were lists on the Irish Stock Exchange and six Irish-based companies listed in London.

Ictu said its analysis showed “that total annual CEO remuneration increased in 11 companies, ranging from 9 per cent in Permanent TSB to a 99 per cent increase in Smurfit Kappa”.

“Meanwhile, wages for the average full-time worker were up just 2.6 per cent on 2017,” the trade union movement umbrella body said.

It said annual pay and benefits were close to or above €1 million for 22 of the 26 chief executives, “and as much as €8.2 million”.

The Ictu report said that 13 company chief executives were paid more than 50 times an ordinary worker’s salary in 2018.

“The highest CEO-to-worker pay ratios are in: CRH: 212 years; Smurfit Kappa: 87 years; Tullow Oil: 80 years; DCC: 75 years; ICG: 71 years; Kerry Group: 66 years; Glanbia: 60 years; Ryanair: 59 years; Grafton: 59 years; Aryzta 57 years, Paddy Power: 57 years; Kingspan: 51 years and UDG: 51 years.”

Telephone number salaries

Ictu researcher Eileen Sweeney, who has tracked the changes in the pay of each chief executive since 2015, said: “The building materials company, CRH continues to have the highest CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio, at 212-to-1.

“That is, it would take an ordinary worker 212 years to earn what the CRH boss took home in 2018.

“This is marginally narrower on the previous year as a result of a €296,000 reduction in the bonus paid to the chief executive to €2.04 million in 2018. However, a wide divide persists.”

Ictu general secretary Patricia King said: “The telephone number-like-salaries and the unjustifiable gap between the top and rest of the workforce needs to be urgently tackled. This is now recognised by the European Commission and the OECD – institutions not known to be natural bedfellows of trade unions.”

Ictu said that earlier this year, the European Commission had pointed out that market income inequality – income before taxes were deducted and social welfare top-ups were added – in Ireland is the highest in the EU28.

It said the OECD’s 2018 economic survey of Ireland also pointed out that income inequality and poverty in market income were high.

Wage inequality

Ictu social policy officer Dr Laura Bambrick said the new EU shareholder rights directive was due to have become Irish law by June of this year but that this has not yet happened,

She said this initiative represented a good first step in pay transparency and tackling wage inequality.

“The directive, for the first time, requires listed companies to explain how the pay of their employees were taken into account when determining the salaries for company bosses. “

“However, despite the efforts of Congress, as detailed in our report, Government refuses to grasp the opportunity the directive presents to include more ambitious provisions – such as legally obliging listed companies to make pay ratio disclosures” said Dr Bambrick.

“Publicly listed companies are required by stock market rules to publish certain information, including pay of their management team. Private companies are under no such obligation and their executives’ pay remains shrouded in secrecy. But, there is nothing to prevent a future government making such reporting a requirement of firms tendering for public contracts.”