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Contact directors' fees show system broken - EPMU

October 22, 2008

Media Release

Contact directors' fees show system broken - EPMU

Contact Energy's plans to double its directors' fees is an outrageous move given the rates they pay their workers and their recent increase in power prices, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union.

The call follows the electricity company's announcement that the pool for its directors' fees will increase by 95% to $1.5m. By comparison the last increase Contact's EPMU-unionised call centre workers received was 3%.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the massive hike in directors' fees shows the huge disparity between the way executives and workers are treated.

"We know of at least one Contact director who is receiving a thousand dollars a day in salary even before this increase, while our members in call centres don't even receive that much in a week.

"This situation is symptomatic of the current climate in which senior executives are paid well out of proportion to the workers that actually keep their companies running.

"Contact hasn't even done that well under these directors' stewardship but they are still rewarded handsomely. Given Contact's intense performance management of our call centre members that seems a bit rich.

"The system is clearly broken and in need of reform. Perhaps the time has come to require Contact to put elected worker and community representatives on its board to ensure the company is governed by people with a sense of reality."

The EPMU represents 50,000 New Zealand workers across 11 industries including 6,000 in the electrical and telecommunications industry.

ENDS

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