Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/176/7941
Fleece the Fat Cats
THE GOVERNMENT have raised the national minimum wage by 10p an hour to £3.70. Previously New Labour refused to give such a rise - under 3% - for fear this would cause "a growth in inflation"!
Meanwhile Britain's top bosses are helping themselves to rises of up to 20% on already exorbitant salaries. A new survey says that chief executives of Britain's top companies were paid on average £752,000 a year, up 18.6% on last year, which in turn was 14.3% higher than the year before that.
Why doesn't chancellor Brown accuse these fat cats of causing inflation?
What's more an increasing number of these overpaid executives got share options worth over £500,000. These cosy little nest-eggs ensure that they can live in comfort off share income even if they lose their jobs.
At present the minimum wage is £3.70 an hour. Who can live on that? Why can't low-paid workers get pay rises comparable to those which executives take for granted? If they did, the minimum wage would be at least £4.50 an hour.
Low-paid workers should get the 35% rise needed to reach many unions' demand of a £5 an hour minimum wage.
Government figures show that even the current miserable level isn't being enforced, due to a shortage of inspectors. Some bosses get away with fiddling their wage records to cheat workers out of what they're entitled to.
The European Union calculates that workers need at least £7 an hour to achieve a decent standard of living. That would practically double the minimum wage. If that's inflationary, take it out of the fat cats' bloated salaries.
If capitalism can't afford to give us a living wage, then we can't afford capitalism.
- Raise the minimum wage to £5 an hour at once as a first step to the European Decency Threshold level of £7 an hour. End the exemptions for workers under 22.
- Workers' representatives to have the right to inspect wages records without notice. Workers should be able to call an immediate stoppage without fear of dismissal in workplaces which breach minimum wage laws.
In The Socialist 6 October 2000: