herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

ESB boss bags €750k deal, and now staff win surprise bonus

ESB employees are due to bank an extra bonus this year -- just weeks after it was revealed that chief Padraig McManus bagged €750,000 in 2010.

Workers at the semi-State energy company have been informed that they will be paid bonus payments this year.

Sources said that the move came as a surprise when employees -- who include engineers, administrators and higher executives -- were told that they would be rewarded.

The perk comes in addition to the 55pc reduction in electricity bills enjoyed by employees at the company.

"Staff hadn't expected to receive the bonus given the economic climate," a source said.

"They were told that this would be the last bonus they would receive and there certainly won't be any next year.

"It was surprising because it is one of the very few semi-state companies which has approved of a bonus."

Despite repeated attempts to contact the press office, representatives refused to comment on the bonuses.

It is not clear how much the pay supplement amounts to but it is understood that this will be the last perk for some time.

The latest details will come as a shock to the electricity supplier's customers -- some 900 are being disconnected each month as they struggle to pay their bills.

The ESB averages between 8,000 to 9,000 disconnections a year, while Bord Gais has disconnected more than 4,000 customers since January.

Earlier there was outrage when it was revealed that ESB staff received discounts of as much as €470 a month on their household bill. All 5,800 ESB workers and some retired staff are entitled to 55pc off a maximum of 1,000 units of electricity per bi-monthly bill.

And over the past year, 4,000 ESB staff obtained a 3.5pc increase in their salary.

Mr McManus, their boss, is the second highest paid employee of the State, earning €620,000, but last year received an exceptional 'long-service bonus' payment which increased his pay to €750,000 for one year.

Freeze

Just last August, ESB workers agreed to a three-year pay freeze which would mean that their salary would remain the same.

The freeze was part of an overall plan to tackle the deficit in pensions and will result in pension increases for former workers being frozen.

In 2008 it emerged that the pension fund had a deficit of almost €52bn. In its latest accounts, the company announced that it had revenues in 2009 of €3bn with profits of €5.580m.

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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