An ordinary worker would have to toil for two lifetimes to earn the average yearly salary of a FTSE 100 boss, according to new research which lays bare the UK’s shocking levels of pay inequality.
The average salary in Britain is £28,213; however data compiled by the High Pay Centre and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development shows that fat cat bosses earned an average of £4.5m each in 2016.
That’s 160 times as much as the average worker.
The figures emerged as striking Unite members at British Airways, the Bank of England and Barts Health NHS Trust joined forces and protested together in London yesterday (August 3) over meagre pay.
Commenting on the pay disparity between CEOs and ordinary employees, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “The parallel pay universe that Britain’s top bosses live in has again been exposed by these new findings.
“Action needs to be taken to reduce the outrageous gap between CEOs pay and that of the average worker.”
Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, accused fat cat bosses of being in a “mutual back-scratching society”.
He told the Morning Star, “Who decides what salaries they get? It seems to be people in very similar positions themselves. It’s a mutual back-scratching society.”
The report found that the average pay of a FTSE 100 boss has fallen by 17 percent since 2015.
Despite some gains, it would still take an average worker an incredible 1,718 years to earn advertising boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s 2016 pay packet of £48.1m.
Director of the High Pay Centre, Stefan Stern, described the fall in pay as “welcome” but “so far, a one-off”.
Stern said, “We need to see continued efforts to restrain and reverse excess at the top.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the government could help tackle pay inequality by supporting strong trade unions.
He said, “Growing inequality over the past 30 years has its parallel in a weakened trade union movement and the collapse of collective bargaining. A return to a strong, well-organised and effective trade union movement coupled with sectoral collective bargaining is the answer.
“It is a failure to introduce proper, effective and enforceable structures of corporate governance — structures that give workers a powerful collective voice in the companies they work for — that is at the heart of runaway corporatism both here at home and across much of the globe.”
He added, “The government must act to address both if we are to tackle gross inequalities and build a fairer, more just Britain.”