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ESB cuts managers' pay 20pc to shave €130m off payroll

THE generous salaries of the chief executive and senior managers at ESB have been cut by an average of 20 per cent in an attempt to reduce the payroll by €130m.

The latest cut was imposed in the January wage packets of some of the best-paid managers in the semi-state sector. Further across-the-board pay cuts are on the cards as the company tries to save another €185m.

The cuts follow widespread criticism of excessively generous semi-state salaries and perks by senior government ministers. Padraig McManus, who is one of the highest paid semi-state chief executives, is on a salary of €430,000 -- but he took home €750,000 in 2009 once his bonuses were factored in.

The average ESB employee's salary in 2009 was €75,500, including overtime, according to the company's latest annual report. ESB workers are also able to get discounted electricity.

A spokesman refused to confirm who took the 20 per cent cut. As one of the company's highest earners, Mr McManus is down at least €86,000 in two years. He already took a 10 per cent cut in salary in 2009.

The ESB wants to save €280m in a cost-cutting drive across the board, including an estimated €130m in pay roll costs. A spokesman said the company saved €95m last year and had another €185m to go. He said nothing was being ruled out.

The company said: "The ESB has implemented an average cut in senior management remuneration of 20 per cent. In addition, ESB is engaging with staff regarding the cost base challenges that must be addressed to enable it to compete and fund its investment programmes."

Brian Lenihan imposed a salary cap of €250,000 for all semi-state chief executives in the last Budget. The pay cap does not apply to existing incumbents, however.

Sunday Independent