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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2007

Aiming to be rich

THE STATED aim of Aim, the Alternative Investment Market, is to create a junior stock market for 'smaller, growing companies'. The real aim of chief executives of companies listed on Aim is to make themselves very rich, very fast.

According to a recent survey, these 'junior' bosses saw their earnings rise by an average 38% in the last 12 months. That is ten times more than the national average and gives some bosses salaries higher than the market valuations of the businesses they lead.

The highest-paid junior boss is Philip Richards of RAB Capital. Despite being one of the investors in Northern Rock, his firm made 50 million profit and gave Richards a 14.4 million salary and bonus. The average Aim chief executive's salary is now 240,000, up 32% from 174,000 a year before.

Europe's worst pensions

SOME PEOPLE can retire and keep making money. Tony Blair spoke to a few business people in China, and received 237,000 for 20 minutes work. It's all good news for his lucrative pension pot.

But if you are on a state pension, you have the worst deal in Europe, says a new report. An average earner retiring this year would receive a state pension worth just 17% of their salary. The European Union average state pension is 57% of salary!

Britain has the largest funded private pension system in Europe. But the Queen's speech has announced the latest plans to slash away at both state and private pension entitlement to save money for the employers and keep up profits.

More in next week's the socialist


Classroom assistants

OVER 3,000 classroom assistants in Northern Ireland are to strike again, beginning on 15-16 November.

They are battling with local Education Boards and the Northern Ireland Assembly over attacks on low-paid workers.

Since the 93% September strike vote was announced NIPSA, the union of the vast majority of classroom assistants, has recruited over 1,000 more assistants. NIPSA members' fighting determination stands in marked contrast to the role of the leadership of some other unions which represent small minorities of classroom assistants but accepted the authorities' inadequate new offer.

If the classroom assistants win this vital dispute, it will open the way for more struggles and victories.

If they lose, the Assembly parties will be more confident in attacking the working class. Support the classroom assistants.

Fuller report on socialistworld.net

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