Union leaders have blasted the pay of top company directors after a new study showed their earnings increased by an average of 55% in the past year.
Lead executives in FTSE-100 firms took home an average of £4.9 million in total earning in the year to June, said Incomes Data Services (IDS).
Basic pay only rose by 3.6%, but their earnings were boosted by a "resurgence" in bonus payments, the value of share option gains and long-term incentive plans.
The report warned that the "business as usual" approach to executive pay by remuneration committees after such a short period of restraint risked upsetting shareholders.
Steve Tatton, of IDS, said the days of earnings restraint by directors were short-lived, adding: "It is as though the recession never happened.
"It stands in stark contrast to the coalition Government's concerns about pay fairness and calls for senior executives in the public sector to accept pay cuts."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Don't they know that this is meant to be austerity Britain? These mega-pay rises blow away any claim that we are all in this together.
"While the poor and those on middle incomes lose out from cuts and pay squeezes, top directors continue to take home telephone number salaries without being overly troubled by tax.
"It is time government and shareholders got together to identify how to address this wasteful spending and inefficiency in our biggest companies."