BBC management received large pay rises last year at a time when thousands of workers faced redundancy, the corporation’s annual report revealed last week.
Director-general Mark Thompson saw his pay packet rise by £160,000 from £459,000 to £619,000 although his salary for the previous year was not for a full year. His fellow executives also enjoyed significant pay rises.
Thompson waived his right to receive a bonus, although his colleagues did not.
Director of television Jana Bennett was paid £353,000 inclusive of benefits and bonus. Her basic pay rose from £255,000 to £321,000.
Jenny Abramsky, director of radio and music, saw her basic pay rise from £233,000 to £295,000 – taking her total wage to £322,000 with benefits and bonus.
Deputy director-general Mark Byford was the best-paid executive after Thompson. His total take-home pay was £456,000, including a basic wage of £403,000 – up from £351,000 the previous year.
Unions criticised the pay rises, which come at a time when 1,132 posts have already been closed, with more than 2,000 to go next year.
“It’s outrageous that in a year when they have made 3,000 staff redundant, executives have been given these astonishing, inflation-busting increases,” said Luke Crawley, Bectu’s BBC official.
“It is likely our members will be insulted and will say ‘let’s ballot for action’.”
The BBC said the pay hikes were part of a two-year process to bring executives’ base pay up to the market median. While base pay has risen, bonus potential has been reduced from 30% to 10%.
BBC chairman Michael Grade said: “The governors believe the BBC’s executive pay policy now properly reflects our combined duty to licence fee payers and our responsibility as employers.”