UNION

'Ghost of Cedric the Pig will haunt Centrica AGM'

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13 May 2019
Press Office

Press Office

GMB, the energy union,  says the ghost of  Cedric the Pig will haunt Centrica’s AGM tomorrow over chief executive Iain Conn’s 44% pay rise.

Back in 1996, GMB activists brought a live pig, called 'Cedric' to a British Gas shareholders meeting in protest at boardroom excess by then CEO Cedric Brown. 

At Centrica's AGM tomorrow [May 13, 2019] shareholders in the company, which owns British Gas, will vote on Mr Conn’s pay - set to increase to £2.4 million.

GMB has written to Centrica’s institutional shareholders asking them to block the pay rise

The increase was confirmed just days after British Gas workers in Leeds and Glasgow were told their sites were under threat of closure as the latest part of a reduction of 4,000 jobs in the company’s customer business by 2020, on top of 5,000 job losses since 2015.

And just the day before the rise was announced, 7,000 British Gas workers had voted to accept deep cuts to their retirement pensions in order to support the company return to competitiveness. 

In 2018, British Gas lost 742,000 customers; its share price is just above £1 having more than halved under Iain Conn’s leadership, whilst profits have fallen massively.

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Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

"The ghost of Cedric the Pig will haunt the Centrica AGM on  Monday.

"Cedric was signifying ‘snouts in the trough’ and it appears 23 years on the lessons of timing and foolish greed have not been learned.” 

"GMB is calling on all Centrica shareholders to reject the frankly staggering proposal to increase Iain Conn’s pay.

“We have 15,000 members in Centrica, who are not being offered 4% pay rises, never mind 44%.

 

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“The resulting loss of confidence since the announcement of Iain Conn’s planned rise runs right through the company from top to bottom. 

“From call centre staff earning 1/120th of the CEO’s pay, to the very highest levels of management are utterly demoralised by the poor judgement and lack of leadership.

“It is a classic boardroom case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’.

“The company lost 742,000 customers in 2018. Profits have taken a hammering. Yet the Centrica Board proposes to reward this litany of failure with a 44% rise for the boss. 

“If shareholders need any more reason not to pay this unjustified increase they need look no further than the collapsing share price."

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