Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/172/7907
Labour Let Rich Run Riot
THE NEW Labour government has let the wealth divide in Britain run riot. Even our normally subservient union leaders can sense the rising anger at this and say they will attack the government for letting 'fat cat' bosses prosper.
They plan to resurrect the "snouts in the trough' campaign they ran under the Tories. That campaign concentrated on British Gas executive Cedric Brown who earned £471,000 a year - that's very small beer compared to bosses under New Labour.
Labour Research magazine says that 138 directors in Britain now earn at least £1 million a year! Last year there were 79 millionaire directors, so they've nearly doubled in 12 months.
Top executives' pay is speeding way ahead of that of workers. Britain's employers received an average 16% pay rises last year, over four times the average. The highest paid directors of companies quoted on the Stock Exchange got on average 21% rises.
Over the last six years, top executives' pay has risen each year by between 10% and 21.2% - top bosses' pay is now 130% above the 1994 figure.
Brian Ashford-Russell of Henderson Technology Trust "earned" £6,389,000 after a 719% pay rise. The richest bosses also get shares and share options. Even if they're sacked or retire, they'll get a golden handshake or a huge pension.
What joy do pensioners or working-class people approaching retirement age get from this government? Peanuts, that's what. Meanwhile councils are short of teachers because they pay such low wages.
The obscene capitalist system promotes riches for the bosses and low pay for workers. The unions have resurrected the anti-fat cat campaign after workers have suffered three years of blatant capitalist policies from Labour.
If union leaders like John Edmonds are angry at the wealth gap (see page two), how about fighting for the unions' demand for a £5 an hour national minimum wage for workers? This should be the first step to the £7 an hour which is the European decency threshold.
Trade union members should campaign to stop union funds going to the Labour Party and join our fight for a new mass party of the working class.
If you agree with us, join the Socialist Party.
In The Socialist 8 September 2000: