How is this for poor timing? Just as walkouts get under way at the AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, UK, over plans to end contributions to a defined benefit pension plan (back story), there is the revelation that the pension for AstraZeneca ceo David Brennan has grown by 50 percent in the past two years and will now provide him approximately $1.4 million annually, according to The Manchester Evening News.
"It is particularly shocking that, at the very time when this hugely profitable company is attacking GMB members’ pensions, its chief executive, David Brennan, has reached third in the UK league of the top bosses' pension entitlements," Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, tells the paper. "When he retires based on today’s figures, Mr. Brennan will enjoy a pension of more than £17,500 per week. This is in sharp contrast with the decision to freeze pensionable pay for the UK's AstraZeneca workers. It is another case of boardroom greed and a culture which is summed up by ‘do as I say not as I do’."
The pension disclosure was made by TUC, the Trades Union Council, in a new report on pensions given directors of large UK companies (look here). AstraZeneca tells the paper, though, that Brennan's pension is not 'directly comparable' to those of the workers because Brennan, who has worked for the drugmaker for 34 years, joined in the US and is part of the US defined benefit scheme, which contains different terms.
More than 140 GMB union members joined last week's first two-hour strike and he four-hour stoppage taking place today is due to be followed by an all-day walk out next Wed., Sept. 22. One worker on last week's first picket line tells the paper that: "I've worked for the company for 31 years and the value of my pension is frozen at 2010 levels."