Communication Workers Union determined to oppose ‘outrageous’ fortunes on offer to Cable & Wireless directors after redundancy announcement

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has demanded talks with Cable & Wireless after branding the telecoms giant’s proposed management bonus scheme “outrageous”.

The pay scheme, which comes just before the company is expected to announce full-year profits of about £220m – down from £368m last year, will offer the chance for C&W’s two divisional heads to earn £22m each if certain targets are reached.

One of the criteria for UK managing director, John Pluthero, and his counterpart on the international side, Harris Jones, is that the C&W share price rises from its current level of 100p to 220p. The two divisions would also have to grow by more than 8% a year.

The incentive plan, detailed in a letter to shareholders from from the chairman, Richard Lapthorne, comes just weeks after the company announced that up to 3,000 jobs will be cut in the next five years.

Jeannie Drake, deputy general secretary at the CWU, said: “This is outrageous and we will be seeking talks about this. It is an excessive amount of money to be paying just to do what they should be doing as part of their normal job: making the business successful.

“The scale of the payouts also begs the question as to how much money is rattling around inside the company and why at this time it is necessary to make redundancies.

“Lapthorne’s proposals seem to be silent as to how he intends to motivate his loyal and hardworking employees, whose contribution will be integral to delivering success,” she added.

A spokesman for the company said the new incentive plan had already been discussed in general terms with shareholders. They had been supportive of efforts designed to increases the value of C&W.

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