Another story for ‘We’re all in it together’. A survey just published by Manifest/MM&K has found that the average pay of chief executives of FTSE-100 companies is now £4.m millions a year , just under £100,000 a week (though that threshold will probably be crossed next year). The average pay in their remuneration – salary, share options, share handouts (usually at 100,000 shares a time), layered incentive schemes, bonuses including those deferred from previous years, etc., etc. – was 10%, though in a quarter of companies it was more than 41%.
That compares with an average increase in pay for their employees of 1%, in other words a pay cut of some 3% because inflation was running at about 4% for most of the survey period. It also reveals that they are now being paid 209 times more than their average-paid workers.
It immediately raises the question about how this surge of monumental self-seeking greed can the reined in. The finance columns of the broadsheets are all agog at the ‘shareholders’ spring’ – the idea that an adverse vote at AGMs can bring this colossal and growing inequality down to earth. There have been so far 5 such revolts, with a sixth promised tomorrow against Sorrell proposing to pay himself (sorry, his remuneration committee proposing to pay him) a 30% rise to £1.3m. None of it of course has done a blind bit of good – the votes are voluntary, with no mandatory effect, so the tycoons complain about the uppity peasants but then laugh all the way to the bank.
Cable wants to make the votes binding, even only every 3 years as he’s now saying, but the Tories certainly won’t put up with that. This after all is the party/class which cut the 50% income tax rate by 5% (worth over £20,000 a week to Bob Diamond, chief exec of Barclays, on his £20.9m salary this year – an almost incredible £401,920 a week) and refused to impose any taxes at all on the 1,000 richest persons in Britain who increased their wealth by £155bn over the last three years of austerity for everyone else.
Disabled living allowance and incapacity benefit is withdrawn from hundreds of thousands, housing benefit is cut so that families can’t pay the rent and are forced out of their homes into cheaper areas, and tens of thousands of young jobless are now being forced to work for weeks or months for no pay. But the rich, who caused the crash in the first place, make no contribution. Life’s hard after all when you’ve only got £13,000 a day to fall back on.