Virgin Atlantic has sparked outrage after awarding senior managers a 40 percent pay rise, despite announcing 600 possible job cuts on Wednesday due to week demand.
Staff have accused chief executive, Steve Ridgway, of a lack of moral leadership after his salary rose from £500,000 to £700,000. Meanwhile the combined pay of the top three directors rose from £1.4 million to £2 million, according to company accounts.Virgin’s cabin crew received a 4.6 per cent increase last year and all staff have had their pay frozen this year.
A Virgin Atlantic spokesman said that the directors’ pay rises were based on the healthy profits in the 2007-08 financial year because the company delays performance bonuses by a year.
“The rises were paid last year and have nothing to do with what is happening this year,” said a spokesman for the airline.
In May, the airline posted profits of £68.4m for 2008-09, nearly double the previous year, which implies that directors could be in line for a further increase this year.
However the spokesman added that this year’s environment would be more difficult and all staff, including directors and non-executive directors, would be asked to make sacrifices.
Virgin also said this week that it would cut capacity by 7 per cent this winter because of falling demand.