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Issue # 1399      18 February 2009

FSU protests Suncorp CEO $2.4 million payout

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has called on the federal government to intervene in the $2.4 million pay out to Suncorp’s chief executive John Mulcahy and recommend the payout be subject to Suncorp’s shareholder approval.

Michael Clifford, FSU Queensland state secretary said it was an astounding payout for a Chief Executive who has failed to deliver for the company, its shareholders, its customers and employees.

“The company’s profits are in freefall, and its value has been slashed. Yet in the midst of Suncorp’s business failure John Mulcahy has received a pay out of $2.4 million without shareholder scrutiny.

“Over the past year Suncorp shed 650 jobs. It is not because of their failings that these workers jobs have gone. It’s time for the regulator to assure the thousands of employees and Queensland investors of Suncorp’s current financial position and future viability,” Mr Clifford said.

The payout has reignited debate for a cap on executive bonuses and pay in Australia following President Barack Obama’s crack down in which he limited executive salaries at $US500,000 as a condition for receiving a government bail out.

“In return for taxpayer funded assistance for the finance industry, we must see caps placed on executive salaries.

“Instead of slashing jobs and throwing skills and people out the door, the money saved should be channelled into investment in jobs and skills.

“This shows the double standards between what happens to chiefs at the top, and every day insurance workers. If any workers chose to leave of their own accord, they would not get any pay out,” said Michael Clifford.

The FSU has developed an Industry plan for the financial crisis, which includes:

• An end to off shoring Australian jobs;

• The establishment of an industry skills fund;

• Greater job protection; and

• Limits on executive payouts.

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