17th October 2014
Britain’s highest earning director earned the average living wage in just an hour last year, 2,238 times more than the lowest-paid worker.
The TUC has highlighted the disparity between the chief executives of Britain’s top 350 companies and the employees who work for them ahead of a march for pay increases.
It took Simon Peckham, chief executive of investment company Melrose, just 49 minutes to earn a year’s worth of living wage of £7.65 an hour and worked 35 hours a week. Last year, he took home £31 million or 2,238 more than a worked on £7.65 an hour – the living wage is currently higher than the minimum wage of £6.50 paid to those aged 21 or above.
Across the FTSE 100 the average total earnings for the highest paid director was £3.1 million – 230 times the annual living wage outside of London, in London the living wage is calculated at £8.80 an hour.
The TUC said companies with high inequality between top pay and the rest of their staff do not perform as well but investors do not have access to enough information that would allow them to assess the gap between pay. The TUC is now calling on the government to force companies to fully disclose information about employee pay.
Just 39 out of 288 companies, 14%, asked by the TUC to provide this information replied to a request and a third supplied no more information than was in their annual financial report. Under the current rules, companies only have to provide information on total cost of staff and the number of staff employed.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘While most are suffering continuing cuts in their living standards despite the recovery, boardroom pay just gets bigger and bigger every year. It is obscene that anyone needs to earn more than 2,000 time the living wage.
‘Most companies fail to provide proper information on how much their UK staff earn. The government is complicit in this cover up as minister refuse to make companies publish the kind of information investors and employees need to work out the gap between boardroom pay and the rest.’
She added: ‘These shocking new figures show that it is those at the top gaining from the recovery, while living standards are still falling for the majority.’