TUC calls for change in economic policy to prioritise wage growth for all workers

cashBy the end of today, Britain’s top bosses will have made more money in 2015 than the average UK worker earns in an entire year, according to calculations by the High Pay Centre think-tank.

The calculations show that earnings for company executives returning to work this Monday will pass the UK average salary of £27,200 by late afternoon on ‘fatcat Tuesday.’

FTSE 100 chief executives are paid an average £4.72 million. The High Pay Centre found that even if CEOs are assumed to work long hours with very few holidays, this is equivalent to hourly pay of nearly £1,200

When the High Pay Centre made the same calculation last year, the think-tank estimated that top bosses would have to wait until the first working Wednesday of 2014 to surpass the earnings of the average worker. But while pay realised by FTSE 100 Chief Executives has risen by nearly £500,000 since last year, the annual pay of the average UK worker has increased by just £200, from £27,000 to £27,200.

The figures will raise doubts about the effectiveness of government efforts to curb top pay by giving shareholders the power to veto excessive pay packages. The High Pay Centre has argued that further measures are necessary, such as representation for ordinary workers on the company ‘remuneration committees’ that set executive pay and compulsory publication of the pay gap between the highest and lowest earner within a company.

High Pay Centre Director Deborah Hargreaves said: ‘Fatcat Tuesday’ highlights the problem of unfair pay in the UK. For top bosses to rake in more in two days than their staff earn in a year is clearly unfair, disproportionate and doesn’t make social or economic sense.

“Politicians need to do more to stand up to big business and the super-rich. We must also give workers the power to force employers to share pay more fairly throughout their organisation.’

In response to the research, the TUC has called for a change of course on economic policy to prioritise wage growth for all workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s a stark reminder that while the average worker is £50 a week worse off than in 2010, boardroom pay gets bigger and bigger every year.

“We urgently need a change of course to put wage growth for all workers at the heart of Britain’s economic plan – if not then people’s living standards will not recover and the economy will remain in the danger zone.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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