As Tesco faced protests over staff pay in the UK and Ireland, it emerged that six directors at the company had each collected pay cheques topping £1m this year. Chief executive Terry Leahy, finance director Andrew Higginson, marketing director Tim Mason, commercial director John Gildersleeve, deputy chairman David Reid and company secretary Rowland Ager each notched up at least £1m in salary payments, bonuses and share options gains. Despite media suggestions that farmers were angry at the size of the payouts, NFU marketing chief Helen Lo said Tesco's pay policy had nothing to do with the NFU: "It is no business of ours what Tesco pays its staff and directors," she said. "As long as the shareholders are happy, it is not for us to comment." Shopworkers' union USDAW said the top brass at Tesco deserved the extra cash. "We deplore the situation where directors get huge payouts when the company is doing badly," said a spokesman. "But profits related bonuses like this are justifiable in so far as the company has outperformed almost everyone else on the market. "If you want the best people at the top of your company, you've got to pay for them." - See Opinion page 22 {{NEWS }}