Anger over Bombardier taking public dollars, laying off staf

Anger over Bombardier taking public dollars, laying off staf

Postby Oscar » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:44 am

Anger over Bombardier taking public dollars, laying off staff, then boosting executive salaries

[ ... e-salaries ]

April 3, 2017 - 6:57 pm

Public anger over a major increase in executive salaries and bonuses at Montreal-based transnational Bombardier Inc. was expressed at a protest that attracted more than 1,000 people this past Sunday April 2.

That's because the pay hikes come at a time when the company is receiving millions of dollars in public dollars -- a federal government interest free loan of $372.5 million and a US$1 billion investment from the Quebec government -- while also eliminating 14,500 jobs around the world by the end of next year.

The Board of Directors of Bombardier had approved a total compensation package for six executives to be US$32.6 million in 2016, up from US$21.9 million in 2015. Specifically, Board chairman Pierre Beaudoin received a pay increase of US$1.4 million in 2016 taking his 2015 salary of $3.85 million to $5.25 million in 2016.

The Canadian Press reports, "The crowd outside of the company's headquarters Sunday chanted in French 'shame to Bombardier!'. Jessica Lacombe, a teacher, [said] the company's actions are especially hard to take after years of government austerity that have included cutbacks to health and education."

The Globe and Mail highlights, "Some citizens who turned out Sunday said they viewed the pay hikes as a 'betrayal' after helping the company, which is considered a flagship of Quebec industry. Michel Milette, a Bombardier employee for 17 years, says his pay has risen only 0.3 per cent over the past three years, and like other staffers, he has made concessions in his benefits."

The company is trying some spin to get out of this situation. CBC explains, "[The company] announced the new plan will be to delay — but not reduce — the payouts to executives, as long as the company hits certain performance targets."

Global News notes, "Renaud Gagne of Unifor says Beaudoin’s announcement doesn’t mean much because executive pay in 2015 was already too high." And one of the people at the protest stated, “This company still survives because of public money, our money. Apologies are not enough. They should resign. The actual board should resign.”

The credibility of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's stated commitment to the middle class has also taken a hit with this.

The Canadian Press reports, "Last week, Trudeau said the government respects 'the free market and the choices that companies will make.' On Monday, he said the government is 'obviously not pleased' with Bombardier's decision, 'but we are happy to see it make decisions that are fixing that for Quebecers' and Canadians' confidence.'"

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