Super-rich elite is thumbing its nose at super-exploited workers and commuters!

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RESEARCH into FTSE 100 chief executives’ pay packages and the just-published findings have confirmed to angry workers that they have been taken for a ride by the bosses. While the working class and the middle class, including commuters into the big cities, have been the victims of super-austerity, and carried the full burden of propping up and saving the bankrupt banking system, the bankers and their big business buddies have been getting richer and richer!

In fact, the just-published earnings of chief executives show an increase of 11 per cent in the past year, compared to a two per cent rise in median pay of full-time workers. This is at a time when the Retail Price Index measure of inflation is running at 3.4 per cent, and cutting the value of workers’ wages on a daily basis. The pay of FTSE 100 chief executives soared 23% in 2017, with the mean package worth £5.7m a year, despite all the much-publicised alleged efforts to curtail executive excesses in the wake of the financial crisis.

Data from the Office for National Statistics show that mean salaries for all workers in the UK have gone up by just 2.5% to £29,009. It now takes a UK worker on a salary of £29,009 a total of 195 years to earn the mean FTSE 100 CEO reward package, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Centre. Excluding a couple of very large payouts, the median pay for chief executives rose 11% to £3.9m in 2017 from £3.5m in 2016.

The RMT has now revealed that British rail passengers are being robbed and are paying more than ten times their French equivalent. A commuter in France pays £268, just 1% of their average annual salary for a season ticket from Ballancourt-sur-Essonne to Paris, and yet a commuter from Cheshunt to London pays £3,200 for a comparable journey, which is 10% of the average salary in the UK.

Fares have increased at twice the speed of wages since 2010. Commuters are being robbed! The RMT analysis, just before the government announced that the price of regulated rail fares is to increase by 3.2% in January 2019, shows that rail fares have risen by around 32% in nine years, while average weekly earnings have only grown by 16% using the Retail Price Index measure (RPI).

To bring this shameful state of affairs to the public’s attention, rail workers were yesterday protesting at stations around the country with RMT leader Mick Cash commenting, ‘This latest kick in the teeth for passengers is another nail in the coffin for privatisation and it is now a question of when not if our railways are nationalised.’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling however is now demanding that future increases must be based on the lower Consumer Prices Index, rather than the higher Retail Price Index, including increases in workers’ wages – a very crude attempt to split the middle class commuters away from the rail workers.

The RMT union yesterday said that Grayling was trying to impose a ‘pay cap’ on its members.

RMT head Mick Cash commented: ‘If Chris Grayling seriously thinks that front-line rail workers are going to pay the price for his gross incompetence and the greed of the private train companies he’s got another think coming. RMT will fight any attempt to impose a pay cap on our members in a drive to protect private train company profits.’

The union leaders and the TUC must now take action to defeat the bosses, the rail privateers and their Tory government. The TUC Congress is meeting on September 9 in Manchester. The trade unions must put down a motion and see that it is passed that the TUC calls a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government that will renationalise the railways and nationalise the banks and the major industries to bring in socialism.

The WRP and the Young Socialists will be lobbying the TUC on September 9 to demand a general strike is called to bring down the Tories. We urge all workers from nurses to railworkers, and masses of youth to join the lobby and to see to it that the TUC does not look the other way but does its duty and calls a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.