Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/220/9170
End The Bosses' Pay Spree
NEXT TIME the credit runs out on your mobile phone and you need a fiver for a Vodaphone top-up card, think how that firm's top executives benefit from your cash.
Last year Vodaphone chief executive Sir Christopher Gent's 400% 'top-up' brought his pay up to £9 million.
Two directors who left the company received £10 million severance pay to cushion the hardship.
When Vodaphone took over German company Mannesmann last year, Mannesmann executives got £40 million compensation.
Chief executive Klaus Esser collected £9.1 million, despite the bursting of the dotcom bubble sending Vodaphone's share price down 63% from 12 months ago.
A recent Guardian survey showed that the fat cats are getting even fatter. The top 100 company directors gorged themselves with pay rises of 28%, while insisting workers' pay is held below 5%.
Many directors benefited from complicated performance-related schemes, despite a slowdown in many companies' profits.
The average worker had a pay increase of 4.8% in the last year, with many receiving less.
Last year top British directors almost certainly got their biggest salary rise ever. They 'earn' more than in any other European country and are second only to the USA.
British bosses earned the equivalent of 45 workers' pay, in Japan the figure is ten, in Sweden 13. Rentokil's Sir Clive Thompson earns 115 times his workforce's average wage.
More than 140 executives in the top 100 companies took home £1 million or more last year. Meanwhile British manufacturing workers are among the worst-paid in the developed world.
Privatisation has added to the widening gap between rich and poor. Directors earn huge salary increases, with share option deals and other perks while workers in those industries face job cuts and attacks on pay and conditions.
Anger is brewing against the system in the workplaces. Last year the number of days lost through strikes in the Post Office doubled to 400,000 as workers start fighting the government's privatisation plans.
But trade union leaders like John Edmonds of the GMB merely call on executives to show pay restraint.
Action is needed not appeals to fat cats' better nature!
As the world moves into recession, workers will need industrial action as the bosses try to slaughter jobs.
These companies should be taken into public ownership under democratic workers' control and management.
A socialist plan of production could then start to rebuild the economy and abolish these huge pay inequalities.
In The Socialist 7 September 2001: