Socialist Worker

Fat cat feeding frenzy fuels rising inequality

Issue No. 2026

Chief executives grabbed pay packages 98 times more than the typical British employee last year. That’s two and a half times the gap that existed little more than five years ago.

These figures come from pay analysts Incomes Data Services (IDS). The total from pay, bonuses and incentive schemes jumped by more than 40 percent last year for chief executives of the top 100 firms.

Trade union leaders denounced the stratospheric rises. T&G general secretary Tony Woodley said, “How much fatter can the fat cats get? If the government is serious about creating a more equal society it is time to clamp down on insatiable boardroom greed.”

Society

The trouble is that the government shows no sign of being the least bit concerned about creating a more equal society.

It boasts of holding down the top rate of income tax, slashing taxes on profits and shovelling more public services into the hands of private firms so they can make profits from them.

No plaintive cries will melt the hearts of either Tony Blair or Gordon Brown. It will take action at both a general level and in the workplaces to shift the stampede towards greater inequality.

Back in 2000, IDS said, FTSE 100 chief executives on average earned 39 times more than the full-time employees across the economy. In the year to this July, the multiple had risen to 98, with the average total package of a chief executive nearly £2.9 million.

IDS said the big increase “should come as little surprise”. Directors were starting to benefit from the marked trend in recent years to up the amount that could be earned from incentive schemes such as share options, bonuses and performance shares.

Steve Tatton, the report’s editor, noted that despite the high earnings and their rapid rate of increase, “the sound and fury of outraged public and media disapproval has never been more subdued”.

Pensions

Another cause of the growing gulf between rich and poor in Britain is the offensive by employers and the government over pensions.

Local government workers are preparing for a lobby of parliament over the issue on Wednesday 22 November.

There is intense pressure form the rank and file for a fightback

Nick Ruff, Kirklees Unison branch chair, says in a personal capacity, “The deadline for motions for a special conference for Unison members in local government has now passed.

“The initiative of Kirklees branch in West Yorkshire has been an amazing success and has tapped into the concern that Unison activists have over the way the union have conducted the dispute.

“My branch has been notified by over 80 branches that they have passed the motion representing over 280,000 members.

“This is well in excess of the 25 percent required in the rules for a conference to be called

“A conference should now automatically be convened.

“However the national officials who have never communicated with my branch throughout the process have written to branches that have passed the motion to find out what meeting passed the motion and whether it was quorate.

“This has incensed many activists as they believe their integrity is being challenged.

“All branches who have passed the motion should be contacting their representatives on the service group executive ensuring they argue for a conference at the service group meeting this Friday, 10 November

“In the meantime we must ensure the lobby of parliament on 22 November is as big as possible to keep the pressure on.”


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Article information

News
Sat 11 Nov 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2026
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