Fat cat Monday

UK’s top CEOs earn by 5pm today what the average worker earns in an entire year

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Only three working days into the new year, fat cat bosses will have earned by 5pm on Monday (January 6) what the average worker earns in an entire year.


Figures published today (January 6) show that executives of FTSE 100 companies rake in the equivalent of just over £900 an hour, while the average worker takes home only £14.37 hourly.


This means top bosses earn 117 times more annually than what an ordinary full-time worker takes home each year.


The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the High Pay Centre data showed that in 2018, the average FTSE 100 executive took home £3.46m, with the highest paid top boss James Fairbarn, former executive at construction firm Persimmon, raking in an eye-watering £38.9m.


Other fat cat bosses with record-breaking pay included Ben van Beurden of Royal Dutch Shell, who earned £17.8m over the year and Rakesh Kapoor of consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser, who took home £15.2m in 2018 and subsequently left the next year.


CEO Mark Cutifani, of mining firm Anglo-American, was paid £14.7m in 2018, while AstraZeneca top boss Pascal Soriot took home £11.3m.


The latest shocking statistics come as new requirements go into effect forcing all companies with more than 250 employees to publish pay ratios between their highest and average earners.


TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady highlighted the unfairness of excessive executive pay, noting, “Every working person plays a part but people at the top take more than their share.”


She added that the latest data “tells you everything about how unfair our economy is”.


Peter Cheese of the CIPD said that while reporting pay ratios was a welcome development, he called it “just a start”.


“We need businesses to justify high levels of pay,” he added, while Luke Hildyard of the High Pay Centre highlighted just how excessive UK executive pay is compared to other countries.


“CEOs’ pay makes the UK one of Europe’s most unequal countries,” he said.


O’Grady called for action to be taken to curb runaway executive pay.


“There should be seats for workers on pay committees and company boards to stop fat cats taking more than their fair share,” she said. “We also need a fairer tax contribution from those at the top, to help provide our public services the investment they need.”


Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner agreed.


He tweeted that the latest figures were another “shining example of growing inequality and government failure as #FatCatMonday sees the average CEO earn more in three days than the annual UK average wage!”


Turner called on working people to “join a union” and “organise the fightback”.


The latest executive pay data comes just days after it was announced the government would be hiking the minimum wage for workers aged 25 and over in April to £8.72 an hour, up from the current rate of £8.21.


Despite the wage hike, the new rate falls below the £9 an hour that was projected by April 2020.


Turner said that any increase in the minimum wage is “to be welcomed”, but added that “with workers struggling daily we need £10 an hour now not in four years. Only a strong, confident trade union movement can win that and make work pay for us all.”

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