Total, the manager who complains about 6 million salary a year

Total, the manager who complains about 6 million salary a year


Of course, we do not know that all that indignation arises from the display of Ferrari and Lamborghini of the footballers, as well as of lifestyles that are often beyond all measure. But it is also true that perhaps certain categories are stored in the world of dreams, of the unattainable, a hyperuranium of vices and excesses with which we may even spend time on social media. On the "company captains", the great CEOs (and similar positions) often overpaid thousands of times more than a mid-level employee, anger becomes more plastic, visible, palpable. As happened to Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of TotalEnergies, the French energy giant, one of the top four companies in the world operating in oil and natural gas. Overwhelmed in recent days, with consequences on distributors, by a strike that has now returned to almost all refineries and which aimed precisely at asking for higher wages, adequate for the galloping inflation that is massacring the purchasing power of workers throughout Europe. br>
In an unfortunate tweet, the top manager essentially retraced the evolution of his rich salary from 2017 to today, highlighting how there has been no increase but how - apart from 2020 - it has always remained around 6 million euros. "I'm fed up with the accusation of having increased my salary by 52% - he wrote with a lot of accompanying graph - here is the real evolution of my salary since 2017: it is constant except in 2020, when I voluntarily cut my salary and my variable part has logically decreased together with the results of TotalEnergies ”.

His goal was to dismantle what he considers a falsehood, or at least half-true news, namely the 52% increase. It would be the result of a return, in 2021, to previous levels after a voluntary cut in the year of Covid and not an absolute leap. However, the arrogance of a person totally detached from reality emerges, like many of his colleagues who undoubtedly have many more responsibilities on their shoulders than a footballer but demonstrate that they live in a world even further away than someone who kicks a ball. And not even understanding how to handle the urgencies of current affairs. How to tiptoe into smartphones and homes of people struggling with bills from panic attacks.

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In another intervention, after a series of inevitable responses between the scandalized and the ironic of various politicians and users, Pouyanné tried to clarify the contours of the question. Obviously without succeeding: "And it is not I who establish my remuneration but it is the board of directors of #TotalEnergies that establishes it and the shareholders who approve it. Certainly a high salary but comparable to that of my colleagues in the CAC40 (the list of the major French companies, ed) and much lower than that of the other European and American majors ". In short, I take a lot but come on, less and less than in other giants. And anyway, it's not my fault, it's the board members who give me that money. Go back to work and accept a remuneration thousands of times lower than mine that basically I manage with 6 million a year, and if anything, blame them.

Out of the specific case, which is almost more than communication and just one of the many emblems of inequality in wages and in general of the social imbalance we live in, there are numbers that help us understand where all that anger comes from. It is not social envy, if not minimally. Nor is it all populism, although those ingredients are not lacking either. It is much simpler: it is reality. First of all because workers' wages have already fallen apart since the two-year pandemic.

The latest report from the International Labor Organization points out, for example, that "the crisis has disproportionately affected low-paid workers, thus increasing wage inequalities. Studies have shown that in many countries the reduction in hours worked has impacted lower-skilled occupations - particularly those in lower-skilled jobs - more than higher-paying managerial and professional jobs. For some European countries, the report estimates that without wage subsidies 50% of the lowest paid workers would have lost about 17.3% of their wages, which is much more than the estimated 6.5% drop for all workers. As a result, the share of the total wage bill received by those in the poorest 50% of the wage distribution - a measure of inequality - would have fallen by about 3 percentage points, from 27 to 24% of total wages on average, while the the share of the upper half of the distribution would have risen from 73 to 76% ”. Even when the world closed and the economy stalled due to the pandemic, those earning the most continued to take an additional piece of the total wage pie. Continuing to widen the fork.

Not enough: according to data from the World Economic Forum last December, the average global wage for an adult worker is $ 23,380 per year, obviously net of the relevant statistical adjustments. However, the latest World Inequality Report explains that this figure obviously hides a completely collapsed system. The richest 10% of the population secures 52% of the global wage pie while the poorest half of the workers only get 8% of that hypothetical wage bill in their pockets. The result? The Pouyanné case is obviously one of many extremes. But on average an individual who has the fortune and talents to belong to that 10% earns an average of $ 122,100, a worker in the unlucky half of the audience just $ 3,920. If the gaze widens to wealth as a whole, that is, the possession of valuable goods and assets other than salary, the gap becomes even more disturbing: that 10% owns or controls 76% of global wealth. The poorest half is only 2%.

We could continue because obviously there is no lack of analyzes, reports and estimates, in one of the most studied economic areas. If not the most analyzed ever. On the other hand, what is still not very clear to that 10% is probably the awareness of belonging to a narrow range of privileged people (paid in any case disproportionately regardless of responsibility and ability, with salaries often unjustified even by the effectiveness of their leadership, suffice it. see recent moves by the wealthy Norwegian sovereign wealth fund). It is not a question of not defending oneself against instrumental accusations. It's about doing it right. And the right way would sometimes be at least a conscientious silence.

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