CEOs 'rewarded for overseeing greedflation'

High Pay Centre research finds Britain's biggest bosses raking it in like never before

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Unite slammed big business leaders for being rewarded for profiteering, after new data shows Britain’s biggest bosses’ pay has skyrocketed by 16 per cent in a single year.

New research from the High Pay Centre (HPC), which tracks the pay of CEOs of the UK’s largest companies, found the median pay for a FTSE 100 boss was £3.91m in 2022, up from £3.38m in 2021.

This means they each pocketed on average a half million pound pay rise at a time when workers’ real wages are being squeezed like never before amid the cost of living crisis.

The HPC also found that the gap between chief executive and worker pay continues to grow — median CEO pay is now 118 times that of the median UK full-time worker, while in 2021 it was 108 times and in 2020, 79 times.

In Unite’s groundbreaking profiteering report, the union has highlighted that it is in fact profiteering – companies raising their prices over and above what’s needed to cover their rising costs – that is one of the key drivers of present-day inflation.

Two of the companies identified in Unite’s profiteering report – Shell and BP – were both also highlighted in the HPC report. Both BP and Shell CEOs, Bernard Looney and Ben van Beurden, were among the top earning CEOs in the UK, with Looney pocketing £10.03m in 2022 and van Beurden raking in £9.7m.

Bernard Looney was even quoted as describing his oil and gas company BP as a ‘cash machine’.

The High Pay Centre went on to note in its findings that the increase in CEO pay since the pandemic has been linked in part to “strong incentive pay awards tied to profitability and share prices”.

In other words, companies are explicitly rewarding their CEOs for profiteering during the cost of living crisis, as Unite has long highlighted.

Commenting on the findings from the HPC report, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Today’s data is further confirmation that CEOs are being highly rewarded for overseeing greedflation. Unite research has repeatedly shown that profiteering is a key cause of higher inflation.

“We have to ask ourselves who is the economy for? Workers and communities merely existing isn’t good enough. The politicians who show they are truly on the side of workers and communities, will be the ones that will be rewarded at the ballot box.”

By Hajera Blagg