15 November 2019

The chair of Wesfarmers, in a speech defending his company’s executive remuneration package [$], complained: “I have to say that it is an extremely frustrating issue and one which takes up a large amount of director time… It is not in doubt that there is increasing unease about executive remuneration — in the general community about salary levels… Your board and remuneration committee work hard to balance community and investor expectations with the need to reward our executives appropriately, retain their services and attract new talent to the organisation.” Translation: We spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to justify the immorally high salaries we pay to our business club mates. In 2019, the Wesfarmers CEO was paid $6.5 million in bonuses, an obscene amount. Also in 2019, Wesfarmers admitted to systematically underpaying workers $15 million (plus an unknown amount for a separate superannuation rip-off) over ten years. How much time do you think the board spends thinking about paying workers properly? Perhaps the prospect of criminal penalties would adjust their priorities.