Socialist Worker

No wonder there's a low pay rebellion

Issue No. 1820

COMPANY BOSSES have doubled their pay in the last ten years. So have barristers. Top civil servants have seen their pay jump by 55 percent in ten years, judges by 58 percent. The people whose work keeps public services going have had no such bonanza. The gap between those at the top and the rest of us has soared. A decade ago top managers at big companies grabbed four times the average wage. Now they get almost six times the average.

A survey by the Halifax building society, based on official government figures, last week underlined the growing pay gulf. Managers at top companies have seen their annual pay jump by 110 percent in ten years, to an average £110,341.

Barristers, like Cherie Blair, have made sure their wallets are bulging too. Their pay has jumped a staggering 155 percent in the last ten years. It's a very different story for ordinary workers. Care assistants have seen their pay slip by 16 percent compared to the national average pay increase over the last ten years.

Educational assistants, who do crucial work in our schools, have seen their pay slip by 16 percent compared to the average. The same is true of cleaners and domestics, who are essential to the NHS. Firefighters have seen their starting pay slip 2 percent compared to the average.

Faced with the rich getting richer while the rest of us are told to tighten our belts, a growing number of workers are saying enough is enough. London tube workers struck this week over pay. Across the capital council workers struck again on Tuesday over pay.

Admin and manual staff in some London universities were out last Thursday. Firefighters across Britain are voting on national pay strikes. Others are heading for strikes over pay next month too - lecturers and admin workers in further education colleges across Britain, London school teachers, and both lecturers and admin workers in all London's universities. The government and employers say they can't pay up. They say if one group gets money the others can't.

Those at the top make sure they ALL get whopping pay rises. All those workers striking for decent pay are right, and they ALL deserve the support of every other worker.

For more on the strikes planned click here, here & here.


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Article information

Sat 5 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1820
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