The Socialist 7 April 2010 |
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Stand up for the millions, not the millionaires!
ARE YOU suffering from this recession? If you're a low-paid worker, the answer is probably yes. If you're a fat-cat business executive, the answer is almost certainly no!
If you're fed up with governments that lean over backwards to help big business and the ultra-rich, then why not help in the campaign of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which is standing over 40 candidates in the general election.
Stand up for the millions not the millionaires!
Take Frank Chapman, chief executive of BG Group, the exploration section of British Gas. He has had a massive pay rise, taking home £28 million in cash, shares and pension contributions last year, after a 17% rise in its share price.
Chapman also secured his future after retirement - an extra £4.6 million was put into his pension pot, which now stands at over £14 million. His pension was also linked to his final salary - new employees of BG cannot even get on the final salary scheme.
It's different for working class people. Kraft, the new owner of Cadbury, threatened many employees with a three-year pay freeze if they didn't opt out of Cadbury's final salary scheme and take up a worse-paying scheme. The Chapmans of the world get no such ultimatums.
Then there's Bob Diamond, Barclays' president, who has 'earned' a pay and profits package of over £60 million. Governments world-wide have bailed out the failing banking industry with our money but the bank bosses are still coining millions for themselves.
The new Marks & Spencer boss, Marc Bolland, could earn £15 million in his first year. Sir Stuart Rose, non-executive chairman of M&S will receive £875,000. That's four times the salary M&S's chairman received in 2006.
It's not just a few 'rogue' firms. In 2000, the average chief executive in Britain earned 47 times the pay of an average employee - that already huge ratio has now gone up to 81. How do the super-rich get away with enormous salary rises? Most people have to fight hard for our wages, just to stand still.
Well, all the establishment parliamentary parties back capitalism and its representatives without question. Chapman's whopping deal was rubber-stamped by Lady Hogg, chair of BG's remuneration committee, who stresses the need to "attract, retain and motivate executive talent". She is the wife of Tory MP Douglas 'dirty moats' Hogg.
Labour in this election period is making tutting noises - 'Lord' Mandelson complained at Diamond's deal but it was Mandelson himself who said in 1997 that he was "intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich".
Wealth buys political influence with the mainstream parties and the media. Recently big business wanted to promote the message that the government's proposed increase in National Insurance was a 'threat to jobs' - unlike massive top salaries, presumably. But they didn't have to organise a protest march or lobby - wealthy capitalists from firms such as M&S could afford to pay for expensive adverts in the press.
In fact, wealthy vested interests don't even need to do that - they get the ear of capitalist governments. Labour chancellor Alistair Darling called in rich investment bank Goldman Sachs for discussions on the economy four times between October and December last year. The TUC was called in once!
If you're fed up with governments that lean over backwards to help big business and the ultra-rich, then why not help in the campaign of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which is standing over 40 candidates in the general election. Stand up for the millions not the millionaires!