Energy Voice | Updated: Union boss lays into Shell over 'outrageous' CEO pay

A trade union boss has slammed Shell for awarding its boss an “outrageous and undeserved” pay package in 2018.

Unite regional industrial officer John Boland said Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden’s £17.8m deal was an example of “all that is wrong with the oil and gas industry”.

Mr Boland said it was a slap in the face for many offshore workers whose wages have remained frozen while oil companies churn out huge profits.

He added that many workers were battling to avoid being switched to “hated” rotas requiring them to spend three weeks offshore at a time.

Employees of Aker Solutions and Petrofac have gone on strike on a number of French firm Total’s UK North Sea platforms in a dispute over schedules.

But Shell recently decided to ditch the unpopular three-week, equal-time cycles on its central North Sea installations.

All workers on the platforms will move to two weeks on, three weeks off (2:3) rotas in the second quarter.

Mr Boland said: “The outrageous and undeserved £18m pay out to Shell’s CEO, more than double the year before, comes at a time when many in the offshore workforce are in receipt of redundancy notices, while taking industrial action to stop being forced to work 3:3 and 3:4 rotas.

“The package to Ben van Beurden illustrates all that is wrong with the oil and gas industry showing the disparity between those at the top and the workforce that creates the wealth.

“Offshore operators are making huge profits through the hard work of our members while they continue to suffer poor increases and wage freezes.”

Shell said Mr van Beurden earned his mammoth salary by helping the firm eclipse its rivals.

The bulk of his £17.8m remuneration for 2018 was linked to a long-term incentive plan.

Shell said its CEO can only secure higher rewards through the scheme if the company “outperforms” BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Total over an extended period.

The firm said it achieved the feat on three out of four financial metrics, including earnings per share and cash flow from operations.

Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman of Shell’s remuneration committee, said the firm had achieved a lot under the leadership of Mr van Beurden.

For example, it completed the acquisition of BG Group, divested £22.5bn worth of assets, made several major investment decisions and created a “new energies” business.

Mr Kleisterlee also credited Mr van Beurden with “leading the way” in the energy transition debate.

In December, Shell revealed plans to link pay for its top brass to the achievement of emissions targets.

Shell’s share price on the London Stock Exchange has also picked up over the last three years, from about £13.45 in January 2016, to around £24 today.

Shell added that Mr van Beurden’s pay was “consistent” with those at other FTSE 30 companies.

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