Huge pay rises for bosses, wage cuts for workers

Submitted by Matthew on 19 November, 2013 - 6:00

The average pay rise for directors at Britain’s top 100 companies in 2012-3 was 40 per cent.

They now get an average of £3.3 million. The 40% rise comes after years of big boosts, but is even bigger than the 27% increase the bosses got in 2011-2.

This year’s rise was made up mostly of increased returns on shares handed out to directors as part of their pay, rather than of cash wages and bonuses.

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, average total weekly pay over the three months to August 2013 was only 0.7 per cent higher than a year before.

In the public sector, pay actually fell, by 0.5 per cent.

Inflation has dropped a little on the October figures, to 2.6% (RPI measure) or 2.2% (CPI). But it has been around, or over, 3% since 2009. Even conservative economists say that some of the October decline in the rate is likely to be reversed in coming months.

Real wages have gone through the biggest and longest decline since records began, and are at their lowest since 2001.

Such is the shape of George Osborne’s economic recovery. Share prices and top pay are rising, but unemployment is static, services and benefits are still being cut, and real wages are still falling.

Even in capitalist terms it is a weak recovery. Profit rates recovered a bit in 2010 from their slump in 2008-9, but have stagnated since then. Business investment is still stagnant or decreasing.

Profit rates and business investment may rise soon, but the government and bosses have no plans for workers’ wages or benefits to rise.

Even a weak recovery offers chances for unions to mobilise and recoup.

We should demand the Living Wage for all workers, and the reversal of cuts in public services and benefits.

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