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Shaming of the fat cats?

Unite says shame list will have little effect
Ryan Fletcher, Tuesday, December 19th, 2017


Britain’s fat cat bosses have been named and shamed on a government-ordered list representing the “unacceptable face of capitalism”.

 

However Unite warned the list will have little effect on greedy executives driving inequality without stronger trade unions and enforced corporate governance reforms.

 

The register includes more than 20 per cent of FTSE listed-companies, including Sports Direct, Sky, Morrisons and Burberry.

 

The Prime Minister ordered the register, which lists firms that have dismissed shareholder concerns and provided “pay rises to bosses that far outstrip the company’s performance”, in August.

 

It names every business in the FTSE All-Share Index that has experienced shareholder revolts of a least 20 per cent against executive pay plans, director re-elections or other proposals put forward at shareholder meetings.

 

The register was published today (December 19) by the Investment Association, the trade body for pension investors.

 

Companies on the list include Foxtons, the AA, HSBC and Mothercare.

 

Investment Association chief executive Chris Cummings said the register shows “a significant number of companies need to seriously start listening to shareholders views and acting on them”.

 

Business secretary Greg Clark said the list would help to change the behaviour of a “firms that threaten the world-leading reputation of our business community”.

 

Govt failed to take real action

However, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said the government has failed to take real action on curbing fat cat pay.

 

Theresa May promised to tackle the UK’s growing wealth divide when she took office last year, but she promptly u-turned on progressive plans to install worker representatives on company boards.

 

Turner said income inequality can only be solved by an equitable rebalancing of economic power.

 

“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,” Turner said.

 

“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.”

 

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