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Fat cats rake it in—make them pay out

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Issue 2566
Socialist Workers front page says Make the fat cats pay out

Some newspapers last week reported that Britain’s top bosses have suffered a 17 percent pay cut. The real news is that the gap between bosses’ and workers’ wages is growing.

Top bosses grabbed £129 for every £1 earned by an average worker in Britain last year, figures from the High Pay Centre showed. Twenty years ago the figure was £45.

It would now take the average worker, earning £28,000, 160 years to earn what a FTSE 100 boss earns in one year. That’s 20 years longer than it was just two years ago.

And for those on the Tories’ shoddy National Living Wage it would take 316 years.

Sir Martin Sorrell, head of advertising firm WPP, grabbed a few million less than he did in 2015. But he still tops the list of Britain’s biggest fat cats, with a pay package of over £48 million in 2016.

It would take the average worker 1,718 years to earn what he “earned” last year. And pay for many other bosses is soaring.

Albert Manifold from the building materials firm CRH saw his income nearly double last year. Arnold Donald, from cruise firm Carnival, nearly quadrupled his pay package from £6 million to £22 million.

The average pay package for a FTSE 100 boss was £4.53 million in 2016. In 2010 it was £4.13 million.

So for all the bleating about bosses’ pay cut, they have got richer since the Tories came to office. The Tories have consistently cut taxes on top bosses’ pay and profits.


Some bosses’ “rewards” come in the form of perks. For Sorrell, this includes a “housing allowance paid when the executive uses their own accommodation when travelling outside of their home country”.

Sorrell has previously whined about the prospect of a cap on executive pay. “We’ve always been in favour of pay for performance and now we’re going to have even that under threat,” he complained earlier this year.

He said that, if a cap was brought in, he would worry about “where talent would go”.

Presumably he doesn’t have the same concern about the impact of the pay cap in the public sector, which the Tories are determined to continue.

Experienced and skilled staff are being driven out of key services that ordinary people actually need, such as the NHS.

And while the bosses rake it in, most still refuse to promise to pay all workers at least the Living Wage.

Nearly three quarters of the 100 FTSE companies are not accredited by the Living Wage Foundation for paying the Living Wage to all their employees in Britain.

It’s a lie to say we don’t have the money to properly fund services or give workers a pay rise.

The high pay figures are another reason to build the fight to make the bosses and the Tories pay out.

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