Telstra Executive Fires Back Regarding Pay Protests


Corporate culture experts like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis tend to have varying opinions on how to operate best, but general consensus is that a company should take good care of even its lowest employees.

People have been calling out Telstra for doing the exact opposite of that, following its proposal to pay CEO Andy Penn $4.5 million for 2018, as well as payout its departing executives, which comes after it revealed that it will be sacking 8000 workers across the time span of three years. Company shares dropped from $3.55 at the year’s start to $3.045 early October.

Telstra Chairman John Mullen, however, has fired back, defending the telco’s performance and the pay its top executives receive following the protests. In a fairly colorful address, he attacked the company’s critics, shareholders and advisors, pointing to the modern pay-setting system for executives as the source of the problems.

He said that Telstra’s performance need to match global standards, as well as deal with the unique threat the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) poses, which has forced their hand. The company recently announced a massive cost-cutting drive in response to the current market conditions, which include the axing of 8000 jobs.

He says that the current climate needs to get real and acknowledge the issue. According to Mullen, more than a quarter of investors voted against the proposed remunerations for its executives, constituting what might be the first strike against it. The vote is not binding, but should there be another strike against the board, they will be facing re-election.

Mullen believes that executive salaries are too high across the board, but that changing it needs time and needs to be something all of corporate Australia needs to get into, and that Telstra was ‘doing its part’.

Shareholders called foul on Mullen, saying that what he was doing and the payment towards executives was nothing short of disappointing.

John Ellery, from the Communications Workers Union in the AU, criticized Telstra’s board on behalf of its staff members over the company’s recent pay offer of 1.5%, reportedly lower than inflation, describing it as Telstra slapping the people they so allegedly value in the face.

Telstra has come under fire, from workers unions, employees and corporate experts like Nadeem Shaikh Anthemis regarding their ‘disgusting’ executive pay system. Mullen, however, declined to get into a discussion about bargaining, only saying that the recent layoffs are the hardest part of the job.