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Revolt against boardroom pay at Trinity Mirror AGM

16 May 2011

More than 20 million votes at the Trinity Mirror AGM were cast against the £3.7 million in pay and pensions enjoyed by the board last year.

NUJ members and officials highlighted the issues of directors pay at the held at the Hilton in Canary Wharf, London.

Such revolts are not common among UK PLCs where corporate resolutions are usually put through on the nod with little debate or objection.

The figure is sharply up on the same vote last year – 12.96 million votes (6.7 per cent) – and represents growing concern among shareholders at the huge salaries and bonuses being awarded in the boardroom. Chief executive Sly Bailey's base salary has risen by 36 per cent to £750,000 and her total package last year including bonus was £1.71 million.

The NUJ presented a letter to shareholders and the union also highlighted the near 50 per cent cut in workforce numbers, the share price collapse from more than £7 to just 50p today and pointed to the two-thirds profit decline during Sly Bailey's seven-year reign.

Official company figures following the AGM showed that a total of 20,278,488 shareholders' votes – 11 per cent of the total – were cast against accepting the company's remuneration report and a further 641,011 were withheld (voting neither for nor against).

The NUJ challenged the board to implement the recommendations from the Hutton Report that says PLCs should voluntarily publish the ratio between their highest earners and the average pay of their employees. The NUJ said that the company should address the gross inequality between the size of the chief executive's pay packet and the base salary of around £21,500 for a reporter on a typical regional Trinity Mirror newspaper.

Chris Morley, NUJ Northern & Midlands Organiser, said:

"The shareholder revolt on the directors' pay in Trinity Mirror is growing because there is an increasing realisation that the top pay is divorced from the fortunes of the company and its staff.
"A much smaller company, lower profits and a share price in pence not pounds inevitably means ever-increasing scrutiny of these outlandish salaries and bonuses. The NUJ is not against good rewards for exceptional performance but that is not what we have seen.
"We believe there must be a real link between pay at the top and that of ordinary employees."

Tags: , trinity mirror, shareholders, cuts, pay, executive pay, sly bailey, newspapers, local newspapers, regional newspapers