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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 06:08 GMT 07:08 UK
TUC opens drive against fat cat pay
Vodafone chief executive Chris Gent with (left) Ken Hydon, financial director and (right) Julian Horn-Smith, chief operating officer
Vodafone chiefs: Pay awards under fire
The TUC has opened a campaign against "fat cat" pay packages, in a sign of the growing activism among UK unions.

TUC activists has joined the drive to block awards totalling millions of pounds proposed for chiefs at mobile phone giant Vodafone.


This vote is the first serious test for the government's plans to hold directors to account for executive excess

Tom Powdrill, TUC
A rewards package planned at Vodafone, which last year announced the biggest loss in UK corporate history, would see chief executive Chris Gent earn in long-term awards up to seven times his basic salary.

"The TUC believes that the suggested remuneration policy is not acceptable," said Tom Powdrill, the TUC's institutional investment officer.

And the TUC said that its Vodafone campaign represented the start of a round of protests against "executive excess".

"We plan to target several more strategic and symbolic pay packages... before the end of the year," Mr Powdrill added.

Growing unrest

The TUC's call, urging Vodafone shareholders to vote against the pay awards at the company's annual general meeting on 31 July, will be seen as a further signal of union chiefs' increasing confidence.

Unions have staged a series of high profile protests in recent weeks, with tube drivers and council workers striking last week and firefighters set to march through Glasgow on Monday in support of higher pay.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is reported to be considering the appointment of a "strikes czar" to tackle growing industrial unrest.

The TUC said its Vodafone campaign was aimed at promoting government aims to make bosses more accountable for the performance of their firms.

"This vote is the first serious test for the government's plans to hold directors to account for executive excess at shareholder AGMs," Mr Powdrill said.

Other protesters at the Vodafone awards include Pensions Investment Research Consultants (Pirc), which is concerned that large awards could be given for only modest performance.

"We think the potential awards are also too generous," Stuart Bell, Pirc research director, said.


Public pay battles

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Labour and the unions

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See also:

21 Jul 02 | England
19 Jun 02 | Business
28 May 02 | Business
28 May 02 | Business
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