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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Nice job if you can get it…

by New Worker correspondent

LAST MONDAY saw the full resumption of the working routine after the Christmas and New Year holidays. But by five o’clock on the evening of the 6th January Britain’s top 100 bosses had already ‘earned’ the average worker’s entire 2020 pay on the assumption that they had done so by just three days work.

This extraordinary figure comes from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the trade body for the Human Resources (HR) profession. HR staff are not particularly known for having revolutionary tendencies.

Their calculation for ‘High Pay Day’ is based on data and analysis that shows top bosses earn 117 times the annual pay of the average worker, and in 2018 the average FTSE 100 CEO earned £3.46 million, equivalent to £901.30 per hour. The minimum wage is presently £8.21 per hour and, in comparison, the average (median) full-time worker took home an annual salary of £29,559 in 2018, equivalent to £14.37 per hour.

The CIPD added that high pay will be a key issue because this is the first year that publicly listed firms with more than 250 UK employees must disclose in their annual reports the ratio between CEO pay and the pay of their average worker. Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, respectfully warned the bosses they work for that: “This is the first year where businesses are really being held to account on executive pay. Pay ratio reporting will rightly increase scrutiny on pay and reward practices, but reporting the numbers is just the start,” adding that: “We need businesses to step up and justify very high levels of pay for top executives, particularly in relation to how the rest of the workforce is being rewarded.” It will be interesting to see what tales the bosses come up with.

Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, chipped in with a similar tone, saying: “How major employers distribute pay across different levels of the organisation plays an important role in determining living standards. CEOs are paid extraordinarily highly compared to the wider workforce, helping to make the UK one of the most unequal countries in Europe,” before piously hoping that: “New reporting requirements mean that publicly listed firms will have to be more transparent over how and why they reward their CEOs relative to the wider workforce. Hopefully this will lead to a more sensible balance between those at the top and everyone else.”

It is more likely that when the first figures are produced there will be few headlines, trade union general secretaries will express outrage, any boss shamed will simply compare himself with an overpaid drunken professional footballer and everything will carry on as normal.