Bosses ‘earn’ year’s pay in under a week

Rachael Haines, Unite union rep (personal capacity)

By the first Tuesday of 2016, chief executives at the UK’s top ‘FTSE 100’ firms were sitting happily on earnings it will take the average full-time worker a year to make.

So-called Fat Cat Tuesday is anything but cute. In fact, it highlights the enormous pay gap between the rich and the rest of us.

£27,645 by late afternoon on 5 January. That is a lot of cream for very few. It’s an insult to those of us who work as hard as we do and for as long as we do for such little pay in return.

The bosses and their politicians constantly tell us that if we work passionately enough, and with enough commitment and stamina, we will be rewarded with a lifestyle of comfort and security. Fat Cat Tuesday comes as a grim reminder that this just isn’t so.

We are creeping back to a kind of Dickensian horror show. The nation’s pay gap increases year by year. The bosses’ economic system is fuelling inequality and poverty – behind a façade of partnership, “we’re all in it together”, that no one seriously believes anymore.


The pay gap gets to the very core of what it means and feels like to be working class. Workers and young people are excluded from lifestyles dangled in front of us in adverts and the press.

But there is a solution. Bosses like the FTSE fat cats don’t make their money out of thin air. They rely on workers to make the goods and run the services, and then declare themselves and their shareholders the beneficiaries.

Taking these firms into public ownership, and taking the obscene wealth off the fat cat 1%, could mean a decent life for us all.