You know we’re not ‘all in it together’ when top bosses have already gone past national average earnings in the first couple of days of the year.
Two days is all it takes for the UK’s top chief executives to get paid more than an average person earns in a year. So assuming the boss gets back to the grindstone on the first Monday after New Year, he (it’ll almost certainly be a man) will only have to make it through to late Tuesday afternoon to trouser as much cash as the vast majority of his employees will get their hands on in a year.
In a nod to ‘Equal Pay Day’, which reflects the lower earnings of women relative to men, the High Pay Centre has declared 5 January to be ‘Fat Cat Tuesday’. Unbelievably, this day, so early in the year, marks the point at which a typical ‘captain of industry’ sails past the annual salary of a typical ‘worker’. It is yet another staggering illustration of the mind-boggling levels of inequality that prevail in 21st century Britain. The richest are doing marvellously, thank you very much, while ordinary folk are robbed by Osborne for the little they have.
Forget ‘trickle-down’ theory or the idea that ‘those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest load’, the rich aren’t particularly paying their way (it’s actually the poorest who get hit hardest by taxation). They’re just making the most of a government and chancellor seemingly determined to enrich them at every opportunity (see here and here).
To clarify the numbers, the figure for an “average UK worker” of £27,645 is based on full time employees who’ve been in the same job for 12 months or more (go here to download the Office for National Statistics excel tables). The ‘all employees’ average (adding nearly 6 million to the sample size) is £22,487, but this still only includes those in steady employment.
A broader sample from 2013 suggests at least another 9 million people need to be taken into account, probably dragging the most realistic total down towards £21,000. If this average (which is a median, not a mean) is combined with the median pay package for a FTSE100 CEO on about £3.9m then based on assumptions about hours worked, the boss, having clocked in at 8am on Monday, will be ahead by 5.15pm on Tuesday.
Various bodies, including Ethical Consumer, have been calling for action on pay ratios for some time. Clearly the problem is only getting worse and won’t be solved by a couple of extra pounds on the minimum wage. Only a fundamental shift in values away from the rampant greed and spurious ‘free-market’ dogma currently passing for business sense will bring any sort of justice to the UK’s workforce.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?