Media unions BECTU and the NUJ yesterday condemned ‘BBC fat-cat bonuses’ and called on BBC bosses to hand them back.
They were responding to the total of over £866,000 in executive bonuses revealed in the BBC annual report yesterday, while the corporation is pressing ahead with its planned 4,000 job cuts.
One BECTU member described this as a policy of ‘the more people you sack, the bigger your bonus’.
Deputy director general Mark Byford received £92,000 on top of his £351,000 salary, plus benefits of £14,000, making a total of £457,000.
Stephen Dando, head of the human resources division BBC People, received £65,000 on top of his £245,000 salary, giving him a total salary with benefits of £313,000.
Director of television Jana Bennett had her £255,000 basic salary topped up with a bonus of £63,000, bringing her total earnings to £334,000.
Director of radio and music Jenny Abramsky received £58,000 on top of a basic salary of £255,000, to gross £304,000.
New media director Ashley Highfield earned a basic salary of £245,000, plus a bonus of £57,000, making his salary with benefits £320,000.
The NUJ called on BBC bosses to hand back their huge bonuses, saying it ‘came as a slap in the face’ for staff facing job cuts.
The first comment in reaction posted on the BECTU website came from ‘Tim’ BBC staff London, who said: ‘Besides their fat-cat salaries the BBC executives are pressing ahead with the plans of continual outsourcing.
‘Future bonuses will meet little resistance as there will be less BBC staff to complain.
‘When will BECTU stop placing any faith in the “special” relationship with the Labour party and start emphasising the need to fight any further privatisations.
‘In fact, we should go further and raise the prospect of re-incorporating those departments that have been sold off.
‘It seems the more people the executive succeed in getting rid of, the bigger their bonuses. Are BECTU going to accept fighting each attack separately?’
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: ‘These people should be ashamed of themselves. Managers at the BBC should not be rewarding themselves at a time when their staff fear for their jobs.’
BECTU also called on members of the BBC’s Executive Board to hand back the ‘fat-cat bonuses’ they have received on top of their six-figure salary packages.
BECTU assistant general secretary Gerry Morrissey accused the BBC’s top management of ‘feathering their own nests’.
He warned: ‘Staff are not going to accept job cuts, especially compulsory redundancies, easily while the bosses who planned them in the first place are giving themselves fat-cat bonuses.’
BECTU noted that although BBC director-general Mark Thompson’s salary is not recorded for this year ‘the salary he earned in 2004/05 indicates that he is on a basic rate of just over £500,000’.
Thompson told BBC staff by email yesterday that he was waiving his bonus but the other executives should get theirs.