More cash for Telstra boss

TELSTRA boss David Thodey is set to enjoy an annual pay rise of $250,000 - about five times the average wage of the 116 workers facing the axe at the company's Goonellabah call centre.

Details of the 8.7% pay rise, effective from October 1, were contained in Telstra's annual report to shareholders released on Thursday.

It means Mr Thodey's fixed annual pay - before bonuses and incentives are factored in - will be $2.65 million in the next financial year, up from $2.4 million.

Including incentives, Mr Thodey's overall pay for the past financial year jumped by a staggering $2.5 million to $7.6 million in 2010-11, driven largely by the telco's improved performance.

Telstra announced a $3.4 billion profit in August, its first since 2009.

The percentage of Mr Thodey's short-and long-term incentive payments will remain unchanged, the shareholder report reads.

Excluding superannuation and other benefits, Mr Thodey could earn as much as $7.95 million in the 2013 financial year, depending on the company's performance.

In citing reasons for the decision, Telstra said the pay hike would bring Mr Thodey's salary in line with the money pocketed by other ASX top 20 CEOs.

Page MP Janelle Saffin, whose petition to stop the call centre closure has garnered 5000 signatures in two weeks, said Mr Thodey's windfall was proof Telstra did look after some of the people on its payroll.

"I have complained to CEO David Thodey about the cruelty of the cuts, and asked him to treat staff well," Ms Saffin said.

"I didn't realise when he promised we would look after Telstra people that he meant to start at the top.

"And yet they say they have to make this difficult decision of cutting 116 jobs here in Lismore.

"The sad point is, it appears that the executives' incentive payments and share packages rise the more jobs they cut."

Ms Saffin will again raise the sackings, which she described as "corporate heartlessness", in Canberra when Parliament resumes next week.

Adding salt to the wounds of the discarded Goonellabah workers, Telstra will seek approval from shareholders at its October 16 AGM for a $500,000 increase to its non-executive director fee pool to $3.5 million. The pool has not increased since 2007. Non-executive directors were paid $226,600 each in the past financial year, while the chairman received $679,800.

The Goonellabah call centre will close on October 23, with workers offered the option of redeployment or redundancy.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell predicted the call centre closure - part of Telstra's decision to slash 422 jobs around the country - would strip $3.48 million annually from the local economy.

It is two years since Telstra closed the doors at its Grafton call centre, putting 108 people out of work.

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