The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, photo Dan Moyle (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Alex Wedlake, Unite union young members national committee, personal capacity

A Trade Union Congress report into the top 100 firms in the UK has found that the returns for top company shareholders have increased by 56% in just five years. That’s six times faster than workers’ wages.

If wages had kept pace with shareholder increases, the average worker in the UK would be £9,500 a year better off.

This figure is an absolute disgrace when you consider the increasing number of families relying on foodbanks to provide the bare essentials for life.

The TUC calls for a ban on dividends for companies not paying the living wage. The TUC should be calling for a minimum wage of at least £10 an hour, a ban on zero-hour contracts, and reversing other attacks on terms and conditions.

The High Pay Centre quite rightly identified that “Britain’s corporate culture prioritised shareholders over investments in the workforce, new equipment and protecting the environment.” But it failed to address an alternative.

Under capitalism, companies are unable to prioritise the issues that affect our planet and the 99%.

A socialist system, where companies are owned and run by the workers would be able to prioritise these issues, allowing long-term economic growth. These top 100 companies should be nationalised, with compensation only given with proven need.

The FTSE 100 (top) companies generated net profits of £551 billion and returned £442 billion of this to shareholders over the period 2014 to 2018. This means that overall the FTSE 100 paid shareholders an average of £1.7 billion a week.