BT defends chief's €1.4m bonus

British Telecom’s chief executive should not have to repay his annual bonus for 2010 despite the firm facing its first strike in over 20 years, a spokesman says.
The staffer defended the £1.2 million (€1.4 million) bonus awarded to Ian Livingston for fiscal 2010, noting it is part of a company-wide performance-related scheme that rewarded 30,000 employees for the firm’s return to profit in the year to end-March.
“He [Livingston] took the decision to take a 2% pay rise in-line with what has been offered to BT employees,” the spokesman told Telecoms, adding. “The executive team base pay remains below market median pay, compared against comparator companies.”
BT is facing its first strike since 1987 after members of the Communications Workers Union rejected a blanket 2% pay raise for 2010, and a subsequent offer that matched their demand for a 5% increase, but over two years rather than one.
Last week Willie Walsh, chief executive of strike-riddled airline British Airways, declined to take his annual bonus for the second successive year – a move that was welcomed by the warring Unite union, the BBC reports.
However, BT see no need for its boss to turn down his bonus, the spokesman said, because staff wages are already “on average 10% above the market,” and they enjoy “an overall package of terms and conditions (holidays, pensions etc.) that is significantly ahead of the market.”
He added that the telco’s revised offer to the CWU included performance-related bonuses that would have resulted in union members receiving “more than 5.1% pay rise plus bonuses over the next 21 months.”