The CITB chief executive position is being advertised at £170,000-£190,000 plus a car allowance. With bonuses, this could come close to £250,000, the unions said.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, by contrast, has to slum it on a basic salary of just £122,000 plus allowances.
According to the unions, skills minister Matthew Hancock and his civil servants raised concerns as the advertised salary is well in excess of the £142,000 salary for the most senior civil servants and bonuses should not exceed £15,000.
Despite these concerns the remuneration committee of the CITB decided to press ahead with the package being offered in order to “attract the level of candidates, needed for this demanding position” and due to “the need to attract a high calibre candidate to the post”.
Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy and Unite’s national officer for construction John Allott are both members of the CITB board, but neither was consulted about the proposed salary before the advertisement was placed.
Mr Murphy said: “This salary is entirely excessive, especially at a time of austerity and pay freezes. There is no way that I can justify this level of salary. This position is being offered at a time when construction workers are often having to fund their own training. Construction workers will see this salary and feel as though they have been kicked in the teeth.”
Mr Allott added: “A package worth £250,000 a year is entirely inappropriate and a classic example of a fat cat salary. The advert should be withdrawn and the whole salary package must be fully reviewed by the entire board.”
Mark Farrar resigned as chief executive in April after seven years in charge. The following month William Burton was appointed interim chief executive while a permanent replacement was sought.