A multi-million dollar golden handshake to outgoing BHP boss John Prescott
has been labelled ``excessive and unwarranted".
Australian Workers Union spokesman Andrew Whiley said the $11.1million
redundancy payment to Mr Prescott was made despite BHP's poor performance and
$1.47billion operating loss for the 1997-98 year.
Mr Whiley said the former chief executive's package included an estimated
$8million severance pay as well as other salary and superannuation components.
The company's annual report released on Friday indicated that BHP senior
executives had received incentive payments of 11 per cent in the year to May 31,
1998 on top of their existing salary and benefits, Mr Whiley said.
``Big business executives are always defending their huge salary packages on
the basis of their performance and decision-making," Mr Whiley said. ``Under
this criteria, Mr Prescott and the other outgoing directors should be giving
most of the money back."
Mr Whiley said the huge payout had come at the expense of hundreds of BHP
steelworkers who were bearing the brunt of a string of bad management decisions
which had cost the company billions.
``Cost cutting and redundancies are rife throughout the various divisions,"
he said. ``Yet here we have the directors still managing to find the money to
award themselves large increases and to reward their mates with multi-million
dollar payouts when they are forced to leave the company.
``BHP and other large companies have all supported deregulation of the labour
market and believe that workers' wages and conditions should be more
`flexible'. This philosophy obviously doesn't apply to their own pay packets."