Clive Lewis described executive pay as an “outrage” today as campaigners said top company bosses will have earned more by lunchtime today than the average British worker earns in an entire year.
The shadow business secretary spoke out after a survey said the earnings of executives returning to work after the new year would pass the average UK salary of £28,200 by the middle of the day.
Activists from the High Pay Centre, which published the report on FTSE 100 bosses, have dubbed today Fat Cat Wednesday.
The median average pay of FTSE 100 chief executives £3.973m last year, they said. If chief executives are assumed to work 12 hours a day, and three out of four weekends, and take fewer than 10 days of holiday a year, this is an equivalent to a rate of pay of over £1,000 an hour, they added.
“It is an outrage that, before Christmas trees have even been taken down, chief executives have already earned more in 2017 than most people will earn all year,” Lewis said.
“But despite promising action, the Tories have watered down their promise to give shareholders binding votes on executive pay. Under this government, these grossly unfair pay patterns look set to continue.”
The general secretary of the TUC responded to the report by calling for a fresh boardroom shake-up after Theresa May appeared to backdown from Ed Miliband-type reforms to give workers representation on company boards.
“Working people deserve a fair share of the wealth they help create. But while the pay of top executives has been rocketing up, the average weekly wage is still worth less than it was nine years ago,” Frances O’Grady said.
“The prime minister must stick to her promise to tackle excessive pay at the top. And she should keep her commitment to put workers on company boards. This would help keep executive salary decisions grounded in common sense and fairness.”