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FAT-CAT bosses’ telephone-number salaries sparked renewed outrage yesterday as TUC research showed that they are paid 120 times the average worker’s wage.
Today has been branded “Fat Cat Thursday” as it marks the date by which a typical company chief executive has raked in as much money as an average worker earns in a year.
Research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Centre shows that the average FTSE 100 chief executive is paid a staggering £4.5 million — 120 times the average British salary of £28,758.
Top of the fat-cat pay pile for the second year running was Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of advertising giant WPP whose total pay was a whopping £48.1m.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady demanded urgent action by the government to address Britain’s yawning pay gap and called for the minimum wage to be increased to £10 an hour.
She said workers should be given places on pay committees to ensure “common sense and fairness” when it comes to setting boardroom pay.
New corporate governance reforms mean that all listed companies will have to publish the pay ratio between bosses and workers from this year.
High Pay Centre director Stefan Stern said that, while the publication of the ratios would force company boards to acknowledge pay disparity, “there are still grossly excessive and unjustifiable gaps between the top and the rest of the workforce.”
CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese called for a “radical rethink” of chief executive pay, adding that the reforms should lead to “much more focus on the wider workforce and employee voice when decisions on chief executive pay are being made, to improve fairness and transparency.”
However, general union GMB urged tougher action, arguing that bosses would not “voluntarily rein themselves in.”
GMB general secretary Tim Roache accused Prime Minister Theresa May of breaking pledges to guarantee worker representation on company boards, arguing that the measure would have helped improve transparency on corporate excesses and win fairer pay.
He said: “It’s simply obscene that, in just three working days, top company bosses will have made more money than the typical UK full-time worker will earn in the entire year.
“Does anyone really think these fat cats deserve 100 times more than the hard-working people who prop up their business empires — workers who have to scrimp and save to feed their families and put a roof over their heads and, like most of Britain’s working population, will now be feeling the pinch after the festive period?
”Big corporations are not going to volunteer to really rein themselves in, which is why we need greater restraint on the excesses of those at the top.”
Ms O’Grady added: “Workers are suffering the longest pay squeeze since Napoleonic times, but fat-cat bosses are still getting salaries that look like telephone numbers. The government needs a plan to make the economy fair again.
“Workers should be given seats on pay committees to bring some common sense and fairness to boardroom pay and the minimum wage should be put up to £10 an hour as quickly as possible.”
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