By Isabel Ringrose
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Bosses enjoy soaring salaries while workers scrape by on paltry pay, new report shows

This article is over 3 years, 4 months old
Issue 2736
Fat cats are grabbing huge wages while workers scrape by 

Bosses can earn more in a single day than their workers do in a year, according to a new report by the High Pay Centre. 

It’s another irrefutable piece of evidence that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer.

The Pay Ratios and the FTSE 350 report looked at bosses’ salaries compared to the wages of their employees in 2019-2020.

It found bosses at top companies earn on average 100 times that of their lowest-paid workers.

High Pay Centre director Luke Hildyard said that very high levels of inequality have a number of important implications. 

He said, “poorer mental and physical health, and lower social mobility with more entrenched social divisions,” were one of the results.

The report shows Britain is the ninth most unequal economy in the world. 

2020—it’s been a year of horror and hope
2020—it’s been a year of horror and hope
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It reveals how the average fat cat grabs 53 times as much as their average worker.

And for the top firms clawing in the most profit—the FTSE 100—the jump was even higher, with chief executives trousering an average of 73 times their average worker’s wage.  

Posh supermarket Ocado was the worst offender. 

Chief executive Tim Steiner received 2,650 times the average salary last year, as he pocketed £58.7 million.

Yet some workers at the firm are forced to scrape by on just £9.20 an hour. 

That means Steiner was paid about ten times as much as an average annual salary in just one day. 

Also featured among the most ruthless exploiting firms were JD Sports, where top bosses were scoring 310 times the average worker’s wage. 

And top execs at polluters’ BP were raking in 543 times what their lowest paid workers were earning.

Laurance Turner, head of policy at the GMB union said, “This shocking and important report provides a vivid snapshot of the staggering inequality and exploitation in the world of work on the even of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Action is needed, especially at a time when hundreds of thousands of jobs are under threat and households are struggling to make ends meet. Ministers, employers and shareholders must all put an end to this runaway train.”

Good words, now let’s have that action.


The picture is a sobering reminder of the reality of capitalism, before the pandemic hit in spring 2020. 

Low wages are only part of the picture.

Since the data was collected, the situation has worsened in multiple ways for millions of people. 

Hundreds of thousands of people have been suddenly made unemployed as a result of the Tories’ insistence of propping up private firms rather than ordinary people. 

Workers in retail have been particularly badly hit, with the collapse huge firms like Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Arcadia and Debenhams causing tens of thousands of jobs to go. 

But the situation was dire for workers at these firms even before bosses’ profits crashed. 

The High Pay report shows that the biggest pay gaps were in this sector. On average bosses in retail steal 140 times more than their employees earn.

Many more workers have seen a drop in their income as a result of the chaos unleashed by the handling of the coronavirus crisis. 

People, most of them women, have been forced to give up full-time work to take care of children or undertake other caring responsibilities. 

And the cost of caring for children has shot up during the school lockdowns and closure of vital public services. 

The first six months of the pandemic saw food bank usage shoot up by 47 percent, according to the Trussell Trust charity.

And charity Unicef said it would start delivering emergency food parcels to children across Britain for the first time in its 70-year history. 

Covid-19 has solidified the dividing line between rich and poor.

Now is the time to fight back against low pay, and the bosses’ system. 

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