The decision by the CEO of national airline TAP to award selective bonuses to his ‘top brass’ of €1.7 million in a year when the company made losses of a €118 million has gone down like a lead balloon.
With the rest of the workforce hugely irritated, the government – TAP’s majority shareholder – instantly demanded an emergency meeting.
The worst of this story, explain media reports, is that the bonuses – awarded last month – should have been discussed beforehand within the administrative council, in which government representatives have a say.
Prime minister António Costa has already been scathing, saying the situation is “incompatible” with structures that should exist in companies where the State has a share – while opposition leader Rui Rio has thrown in his take on the situation suggesting the government is ‘hoodwinking Portuguese people’ into thinking that it has any kind of say in the running of the airline, which – in his view – it doesn’t.
“It gave meat and was left with the bones”, Rio tweeted yesterday (Thursday) when the controversy started swirling.
Say reports, the issue ‘hit the headlines’ as a result of worker discontent over social media.
By yesterday evening, the workforce was demanding pay rises.
Cristina Carrilho of the workers commission told Jornal Económico that the commission “does not understand how a company that could have posted €118 million in losses – and feel the need to float €50 million in shares – could pay dividends to staff, some of them extremely high”.
“On the one hand we don’t understand”, she said. “On the other, if the decision is to award bonuses, they should be given to everyone, not simply a few”.
CEO Antonoaldo Neves has told Lusa that the bonuses were pegged at €1.7 million because the company had made losses.
Had there not been losses, he said the bonuses would have been higher.