Socialist Worker

Low paid workers would take 316 years to earn the average fat cat's annual salary

Issue No. 2566

Time to take on the rich

Time to take on the rich (Pic: Tim Sanders)


A worker earning the average wage in Britain of £28,000 a year would take 160 years to earn what the average company chief executive earns in one year.

For workers on the Tories’ phoney National Living Wage of £7.50 an hour it would take 316 years.

The latest figures on chief executive pay showed average earnings were £4.5 million last year. Fat cat bosses are still getting all the cream despite pledges of a crackdown on executive pay by the Tories.

The High Pay Centre and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development report showed that the pay ratio between FTSE 100 executives and their employees’ average wage was 129:1 in 2016.

Tory business minister Margot James claimed the report “shows encouraging signs” that will “enhance the public's trust and confidence in big business”. This is presumably because in 2015 average fat cat pay and the pay ratio at FTSE 100 firms were both higher than the latest figures.

Obscene

But no matter how the Tories try and spin it these are obscene pay packets.

High Pay Centre director Stefan Stern said the response to calls to cut executive pay has been “limited and very late. It is also, so far, a one-off.”

Stern added, “We should beware the ratcheting up of pay lower down the FTSE league table as chief executives and remuneration committees 'chase the median'.

“This helps nobody but a few lucky top execs.”

These would be individuals such as Martin Sorrell of advertising firm WPP, who trousered more than £40 million in 2016.

At a time of industrial scale corporate tax dodging and firms taking “holidays” from contributing to workers’ pensions to fund shareholder payouts these figures show why we need resistance to the bosses.

The Tories have peddled the lie for years that there is not enough money to fund our public services while holding down public sector pay. Yet they have consistently given the rich handout after handout while presiding over the destruction and selloff of our public services.

The money is there. We should tax the rich. But we will need struggle to force the resources out of their hands to use for the benefit of working class people.

That battle could receive no bigger boost right now than if the trade union leaders led real united resistance and launched a wave of protests and strikes to smash the public sector pay cap.


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