THE ANNUAL pay of FTSE 100 chief executives fell during the pandemic but still equates to more than a key worker would earn in a lifetime.
A report from the High Pay Centre has highlighted the fact that although there was a fall in the take home pay of bosses in ‘blue chip’ companies they still managed to get an average of £2.69 million in 2020.
In 2019 before the Covid pandemic the average pay for these bosses was £3.25 million.
This still means that the bosses made 86 times the wages of a worker in full time work who earns on average £31,000 a year.
This difference becomes even more astronomical when the millions of people who are forced to survive on Universal Credit, (which currently stands at £596.58 a month for couples, with a cut of £86.87 a month due in October when the Tories claw back the £20 a week uplift) is taken into account.
The report exposes the fact that amongst these ‘blue chip’ companies are those who only survived during the pandemic and could make these million pound pay rises thanks to being bailed out by the Tory furlough scheme.
Nine of these companies that used furlough have not yet committed to paying back the billions of taxpayer money that kept them going.
Luke Hildyard, High Pay Centre director, noted that ‘these are still very generous rewards for individuals who have already made millions of pounds over the course of their careers, at a time when, in general, government support for the economy has probably been more important to the survival and success of the UK’s biggest companies than the decisions of their executives.’
He added: ‘The inequalities exposed by the pandemic and the volume of public money used to protect large businesses could strengthen the argument for measures to contain top pay and rebalance extreme income differences.’
The suggestion that bosses’ multi-million pay rises might be curtailed provoked outrage from the right-wing think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs whose spokesman Len Shackleton denounced the report as promoting ‘a full socialist package’ that included ‘worker representation on boards’ along with a return to ‘widespread collective bargaining’ by unions over pay.
In other words, the capitalist class are demanding the right of CEOs to plunder taxpayer bailouts and keep their bankrupt companies from collapse while at the same time demanding an end to workers using their collective strength to fight for pay increases.
Commenting on the report Gary Smith, GMB general secretary appealed to the Tories, saying: ‘If this government is serious about a levelling-up agenda, Ministers must make sure our NHS and local government workers get a proper pay rise – while legislating to close the obscene pay gap in the private sector.’
With the Tories imposing a wage freeze on public sector workers and a derisory 3% wage rise for NHS workers that will do absolutely nothing to address the wage cuts they have experienced throughout the decade of Tory austerity, Smith’s appeal is nothing more than an abject surrender.
The Tories are not interested in levelling-up only in making the working class pay for the crisis and the huge national debt of £2.3 trillion run up bailing out bankrupt British capitalism and paying for the multi-million wages of the bosses.
While the Tories are preparing for the 2 million workers still currently on furlough to be thrown onto Universal Credit in the coming weeks joining the millions already facing dire poverty, the leadership of the trade unions is completely prostrate before the bosses and the Johnson government.
This rotten leadership that refuses to fight must be removed and replaced with a new leadership prepared to organise a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will expropriate the bosses and nationalise major industries and companies, placing them under the management of the working class as part of building a socialist planned economy that will end the obscenity of massive pay for the bosses and guarantee a decent life for every worker and young person.
Only the WRP fights to build the revolutionary leadership required – join today.