Socialist Worker

Top bosses’ pay soars by 11% as workers suffer wage freezes

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2617

The feckless rich

The feckless rich (Pic: Guy Smallman)


While workers face wage curbs and freezes, bosses’ pay is soaring away.

The pay of company chief executives has soared by more than 11 percent to an average of over £5.5 million in the past year, a new study has revealed.

The rise compares to 2 percent for full-time workers—below the rate of inflation.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the High Pay Centre’s research showed top bosses’ median salary—the one in the middle of the range—is around £4 million.

And on average it rose by 23 percent to £5.6 million.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, “Most people's wages are still below 2010 levels and are barely keeping up with inflation.

“So when they see the fattest cats get fatter yet again with an 11% pay rise, it's no wonder people question the fairness of our society.”

Britain is one of the most unequal countries in Western Europe. The share of total incomes going to the richest 1 percent of earners has increased from 6 percent at the start of the 1980s to 14 percent.

Similarly, the share going to the top 0.1 percent has risen to nearly 6 percent from under 3 percent in 1990.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said, "Pay for most people is barely rising at all. So working people will find it hard to understand why fat cat executives are splashing the cash for themselves.

"Workers should get seats on boardroom pay committees to bring a bit of common sense to pay decisions.

"And the government should put the minimum wage up to £10 an hour to give more workers a fairer share of the wealth they create."

Theft 

The government talks about empowering shareholders to police bosses’ pay. But even when they do object, they can’t stop the theft.

Recently three-quarters of Royal mail shareholders refused to support the package handed to its new chief executive.

The privatised postal service handed Rico Back an annual deal worth up to £2.7 million if he hits bonus targets. And that was on top of a £6 million “golden hello” for leaving the company’s European subsidiary.

Jeff Bezos - prime suspect
Jeff Bezos - prime suspect
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But the vote was only advisory and made no difference.

The figures underline the need for a fightback over pay. Bosses and the government won’t pay workers more without a struggle.

That’s why trade union leaders should be campaigning and encouraging resistance, not recommending that workers accept pay cuts—as happened in the NHS.

And we need more than a bit more tax on the rich.

The battle is not simply to curb the rises grabbed by multi-millionaires. It is to do away with a system that produces multi-millionaires at one pole and deep poverty at the other.


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