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Workers on strike at AB Inbev Belgium plant

Recently, the management of an insurance company, Fortis Holding, remaining on stand alone after the dismantlement of the banking insurance group in the Benelux, considered there were not paid enough, and intended to ask for an increase of remuneration to the shareholders at the general assembly. Today, newspapers announced that the CEO of AB Inbev earned around 7,22 millions of euros in 2009, it means 7 times what he earned one year before. Is such amounts really reasonable ? It is a matter of fact that the management of companies have important responsibilities and it is normal they are paid for. But are such salaries reasonable, when on the other side, people are asked to decrease they salaries or to increase their productivity?

I am precisely not a specialist in human resources, and not qualified to evaluate the correct level of salaries for each function. My concern is that recently, I brought some volunteer help to a non-profit organization in my locality, helping people facing financial and social difficulties. The person in charge of the administration of the organization told me that since one year, with the financial crises, there were an increase of demands of assistance, and today, we can see also people having a work, asking for some help, because they have not a decent salary and they are obliged to make some choices: to eat or to go to the doctor, to eat or to send they children at school,..

As I already mentioned in previous postings, is such economy sustainable, when people are unable to pay for what we are producing ? It is a paradox, when today, we are talking about human resources policy, about wellness of employees, and we see this increasing pressure on the workers. Is it a real HR policy or is it purely a marketing argument ? I find a little bit strange that some people consider that people should stay motivated by accepting salary decrease, because it is better than to lose your job, but these people considering that, are considering themselves they are not paid enough.

As mentioned before, it is normal that people are paid for the function they are ensuring, and we have not only to consider the amount of remuneration of people, but the way that everybody needs to be paid. People have not to be paid on a equal way, but on an equitably way. But since many years, the gap between lower and higher salaries is constantly increasing. Should the incentive plan not be applicable for everybody? It should be if you consider the human capital as an asset and not as a cost.

Remember this quotation: if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 7, 2010 at 21:47

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