WHEN the lead organiser for the Health Services Union, Monique Irvine, complained last year that she was having trouble meeting her childcare costs, the union's boss, Michael Williamson, gave her a $22,000 pay rise.
Ms Irvine is Mr Williamson's sister-in-law. It is instances such as this extraordinary pay rise, which was not authorised by the union's council and boosted Ms Irvine's salary to an estimated $140,000, that have angered union members.
Mr Williamson himself is reputed to be the best-paid unionist in the country, with his $330,000 year salary boosted by the $150,000 from his various government and union-related board positions.
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The union's national secretary, Kathy Jackson, agreed at a Melbourne news conference yesterday that her own salary of $270,000 a year was ''obscene''. She blamed Mr Williamson for setting ''vastly inflated'' wage figures for executives within the HSU and said she would be happy to take a substantial pay cut.
Nepotism and corruption within the union is being investigated by Ian Temby, QC, who was appointed by the union last year to carry out inquiries in the wake of allegations of wrongdoing raised by the Herald last September.
Mr Temby's report is unlikely to be handed down before June as he will be overseas throughout next month.
Read more at Brisbanetimes.com.au