Friday, 17 October 2014

Britain's top boss paid year's living wage in an hour

Conrad Landin in the Morning Star

BRITAIN’S greediest boss was paid more for an hour than a worker on the living wage would earn in a whole year, a shocking new report revealed yesterday.

Simon Peckham, chief executive of transnational engineering firm Melrose, raked in an eye-watering £31 million in the financial year ending in March 2013.

Ahead of Saturday’s mass demonstration, the TUC called for the government to force companies to disclose details of the pay gap between their highest and lowest earners.

Tens of thousands of trade unionists will take to the streets of London and Glasgow to demand pay justice in the face of plummeting wages.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is obscene that anyone needs to earn more than 2,000 times the living wage.”

Independent research by Incomes Data Services for the TUC found that across the City of London’s top 100 companies the top director pocketed £3,195,353 on average.

The average chief would have been paid a year’s salary on the living wage in just a day.

Economist and author of The Failed Experiment Andrew Fisher blasted executive pay as a “national disgrace.”

But he said it showed campaigners could be more ambitious in their demands for higher wages.

“The top pay of Britain’s larcenous executive class gives the lie to the idea that a £10 minimum wage* is unaffordable,” he said.

“The money for decent salaries is clearly there but it is being absorbed by a bloated band of bosses.

“We are witnessing a new and hopefully final stage of capitalism — hit-and-run capitalism — in which the central aim is not the production of useful goods or services but simply to extract the maximum return as quickly as possible.”

A spokesman for Melrose said: “These figures are completely inaccurate. His total salary for the year was £409,800.”

The living wage — currently £7.65 an hour and £8.80 in London — is calculated by an independent commission to ensure workers are paid enough to survive.

Thousands of workers in industrial disputes in the past few years have used the rate as a benchmark to campaign for.

“Most companies fail to provide proper information on how much their UK staff earn,” Ms O’Grady added.

“The government is complicit in this cover-up as ministers refuse to make companies publish the kind of information investors and employees need to work out the gap between boardroom pay and the rest.”

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