Boardroom salaries at Rolls- Royce, the aero engine maker that faces industrial action over pay, jumped an average 27 per cent last year.
The details of the directors' pay rises, which emerged in the company's annual report, are sure to inflame the debate about pay in the boardroom.
Sir Ralph Robins, chairman, saw his total remuneration rise 18 per cent to £406,000, a figure that included a £60,000 performance-related bonus.
The next highest-paid executive received about £312,000, a 21 per cent rise. The total remuneration for the company's 13 directors amounted to £2.3m. Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of the firm's 10,000-strong Derby workforce has voted for industrial action over a 2 per cent pay offer for 1994 which trade unions say has too many strings. Similar ballots are taking place at other Rolls-Royce plants at Bristol, East Kilbride and Chester.
Jim Mowatt, of the Transport and General Workers Union, said: "I'm gleeful that the management are handing themselves such handsome pay packages. When their counterparts did the same thing in the utilities, we ensured that our members benefited also, getting settlements of more than 5 per cent."
He added that workers'anger over the 2 per cent pay offer was the tip of an iceberg that included fears about job security and attempts by management to change working practices on the cheap. Rolls-Royce has shed 5,000 workers in the past two years and 20,000 over a five-year period.
A spokesman for the company said the directors' rises were justified because they had ensured the long-term survival of the business. "They have to act for the benefit of its future. There has to be a recognition of this and that's what the remuneration committee does."
Rolls-Royce's profits rose by a third last year to £101m. Sir Ralph said at the time that there would be further cost-cutting, but that the bulk of the restructuring of recent years, which swallowed provisions of £180m, was over.