Cash-strapped steelmaker Corus has incurred the wrath of unions by allowing its directors to earn bonuses irrespective of whether the firm is making a profit.
Corus announced changes to the way bonuses are calculated in its annual report published on Tuesday.
Bonuses will no longer be dependent on whether the firm makes a profit, but can be awarded for either personal performance or for improving the firm's cash balance.
"It appears that the remuneration committee have decided to insulate the directors from failure," said Michael Leahy, general secretary of the steel workers' union (ISTC), saying he had first thought the changes were an April Fool's joke.
"What planet are they living on?," he fumed, stressing that it set a bad example to staff at a time when morale is already at an all time low.
The Anglo-Dutch steelmaker has shed 6,000 jobs over the past three years and 3,000 more are currently under threat
The firm lost £393m ($619m) in 2002 because of the slump in demand for steel and the strong pound which hit exports.
The company's management have also come under heavy fire for poor strategy and failing to invest in the future.
"Directors needed a more realistic incentive scheme," a Corus spokesman told BBC News Online, saying it could help turn the firm round from profit to loss.
No bonuses were paid in 2002 because the old scheme requires the firm to make a profit of £750m before rewarding directors with extra cash.
The ISTC workers' union is urging shareholders to vote against the changes in bonus policy at the annual general meeting later this month.