Top bosses are building up their earnings ‘by stealth’ while the pay of millions of working people is being frozen or slashed, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Tuesday 6 November).
Unite was commenting on a new report published today (Tuesday 6 November) by Incomes Data Services on the incomes of FTSE 100 directors, which showed that while growth in salary and bonuses had almost halted over the last year, their earnings from long term incentive plans (LTIPs) in the form of shares had risen by an average of 10 per cent.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “While millions of working people are either without work, or having their pay frozen or slashed, Britain’s boardrooms are finding even more devious ways to squeeze even more cash from their companies.
“Wages for many working people have stagnated since 2003 and have fallen in real terms since the recession hit.
“But the richest have continued to pull ahead. The top 10 per cent have 12 times more income than the bottom 10 per cent. Scandalously, Britain has the fastest growing income inequality compared to other developed countries.
“What is particularly sickening is that some of the companies may be performing poorly – but the cash registers are always ringing for these directors.
“The directors have cottoned on that their institutional shareholders, the media and the public have had enough of the outrageous pay headlines, so the accountants have got to work to devise these LTIPs to disguise the bosses’ long-term earnings.
“It is time for George ‘We are all in this together’ Osborne to rein in his pals in the City and ensure that UK boardrooms show restraint."
The IDS report showed that across all FTSE 100 directors, the value of LTIPs rose by 81 per cent from a median of £519,625 in 2011 to £938,888 this year. For chief executives, the value of vested LTIPs reached a median of £1.6 million.
Unite’s criticism came as calls for the living wage to have legal sanction increased. The living wage is £7.45 per hour across the UK, except for London where it is £8.55 per hour - but it does not have any legal force. It is considerably higher that the national minimum wage, currently standing at £6.19 per hour for those over 21.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.