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30 March 2000 Edition

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AIB directors 21% wage increase

Some workers did get a 20% wage increase this week. They didn't have to go through six months of fruitless arbitration and then start a bitter strike. The five executive directors of AIB had no problems securing their increases. The five took home £4.25 million collectively, a massive increase on the £3.25 million they received in 1998.

The director of the AIB's US operations took home the largest slice. He got £1.58 million. Frank Bramble had a salary of £609,000 a bonus of £487,000 and a pension contribution of £444,000.

Chief Executive Tom Mulcahy took home a package of over £1 million, Michael Buckley had to content himself with £587,000. Robert Kelly head of retail banking at AIB got £540,000 while bottom of the pile was Gary Kennedy, who had to content himself with a meagre £464,000. Four of the five directors also have substanatial options to purchase cut price shares.

Farmer crisis

The number of full time farmers in the 26 Counties could fall to just 20,000 by 2010 if current Dublin government agricultural policies do not change. This is is just one of the findings from a new report prepared for the government by the Agri-Food 2010 Committee.

The report came only days after a research economist working for Teagasc, the agriculture and food development authority, warned that famers could face an income drop of between 30% and 70% by 2007 unless the farming community responded to the changing agricultural and economic climate.

Taken together, the studies show the extent of the crisis facing the farming community in Ireland. The Dublin government must act quickly to implement a strategy to maximise the amount of farmers living and working the land while earning an adequate income.

A radical strategy is needed that tackles the dependency on CAP and other EU subsidies and helps develop an integrated plan for overall rural development. It doesn't seem too much to ask.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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