| 13.1°C Dublin

ESB staff paid €85k... plus extras

ESB staff whose salaries are more than double that of their colleagues' in the North can also qualify for allowances of up to €6,000 a year.

The figure were revealed today in the wake of comments by ESB union boss Brendan Ogle that workers are "spoilt."

They will also anger ordinary workers when customers are facing price hikes of up to 22pc.

The average annual ESB salary, excluding pension contributions, was €85,000 last year, compared with €41,000 at the Viridian Group.

Viridian was previously Northern Ireland Electricity until it was sold to ESB last year.

While individual allowances can be worth up to €6,000 a year, workers can benefit from more than one type.

Details of the extra cash on offer for ESB workers came as domestic electricity and gas users faced a raft of huge price increases.

ESB has recently increased its electricity prices by 15pc and said it will also increase its gas unit rates by 21.7pc after the Energy Regulator gave the go ahead to Bord Gais to hike its domestic gas prices by 21.7pc from October 1.

A confidential ESB document revealed by one newspaper today shows staff at the semi-State are entitled to a wide range of allowances of top of their basic pay.

Annual allowances at ESB include extra cash for "availability," and being "on call" plus, "oil tanker attendance," as well as "first aid" and "qualification" allowances and bonuses for some grades of staff.