THE Electrical Trades Union has attacked Ergon Energy claiming that while its CEO received a huge pay rise its workers on the ground were having to tighten their belts.
ETU state organiser Stuart Traill said workers were angered by what he said were revelations the CEO's of public-owned electricity companies, including Ergon, were enjoying pay rises ranging from 7% to 19%.
The union is currently in negotiations with Ergon over a new collective agreement.
However, an Ergon spokesperson provided different figures for the CEO Ian McLeod's salary to what the union had and said the large part of the increase from $776,000 to $803,000 was due to leave adjustments.
The spokesperson said Ergon was offering a salary increase to workers of 3%, whereas the union had no plan for the future. Mr Traill said workers in the field were being told they have to tighten their belts and take real cuts to their wages and entitlements while the CEO's pay increased.
"We have seen a massive reduction in apprenticeships and 10% cuts implemented across the industry at the direction of the LNP government," he said.
"Yet we see today the CEO's following in their masters' footsteps by accepting obscene pay increases. Instead each company is proposing to slash conditions and entitlements which will see their 3% pay offers in reality mean a massive loss of real wages and no job security."
The Ergon spokesperson said the company was working towards a new simplified, modern and more flexible enterprise agreement that supported good wages and conditions for employees.
"The energy business landscape has changed markedly and Ergon needs to change, not just to stay in the game but to be ahead of the game and become a more sustainable business," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Ergon had reduced its number of executives from nine to six in May and the average increase for an executive was 1.4%.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the rules that currently applied had done so for many years.
"The remuneration for the CEOs is determined by the independent board of each company in accordance with industry standards," she said. "The rules that apply now are the same rules that have applied for many years, including under the previous government."