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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bosses get big raises

As public sector workers in Norway carry on a strike to win pay raises of more than 4 percent comes word that bosses of state-controlled companies have won raises of nearly 18 percent. That’s not exactly a sign that they’re practicing the moderation they otherwise preach.

Newspaper VG compiled an overview last week showing that the incomes of top executives at  Statoil, Telenor, Kongsberg Gruppen, DNB, Norsk Hydro and Yara all secured raises way above the average of other workers both in the public and private sectors in Norway.

The CEOs of the six stocklisted companies in which the state owns the largest stakes, all of them men, had average incomes of NOK 8.7 million per year (about USD 1.4 million). That’s less than CEOs at many companies in other countries including the US, but well over the average in Norway.

Moreover, their pay packages keep getting bigger, increasing by the average of 18 percent from 2010 to 2011. Svein Richard Brandtzæg, CEO at industrial firm Norsk Hydro, arguably raised the curve, with a major hike in annual pay to NOK 9.3 million, reported VG.

The ongoing public sector strike in Norway by workers demanding raises of more than 4 percent is, meanwhile, catching increasing criticism because the strikers already enjoy more job security and better pensions than workers in the private sector. Economists also worry the pay hikes, even at 4 percent, will further increase the already high costs that exist in Norway compared to other countries against which Norway must compete. The government’s minister for trade and industry, Trond Giske, told VG he would take “a serious look” at the pay levels at companies where he can ultimately be held responsible for the executive pay deals.

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