At a time when workers are being asked for ‘pay restraint’ bonuses to fat-cat city bosses have hit a record high.
In March alone, finance chiefs in London shared £5.9 billion in bonuses as more than 16 million people in Britain face poverty and desperation.
Research by the TUC, based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, reveals that over the last year bonuses in the financial and insurance sector rocketed by 27.9 per cent.
Workers’ wages went up by only 4.2 per cent.
The figures put City bonuses at the highest since records began, and higher than the amounts bosses were paying themselves shortly before the global financial crash of 2008.
As bosses pocket their record gains, the Resolution Foundation expects the number of people in poverty in Britain to increase by 1.3 million this year – including 500,000 children – taking the total to 16.5 million, roughly a quarter of the population.
The TUC also reported continuing falls in the value of wages as bonuses soared.
Real wages across the economy are worth £68 less per month than a year ago, while the wages of public-sector workers fell even more – by £121 a month, said the TUC.
The fall in the value of workers’ wages for the whole of 2022 is expected to be at least £500.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is no justification for such obscene City bonuses at the best of times – let alone during a cost-of-living crisis.
“While City executives rake it in, millions are struggling to keep their heads above water.
“Working people are at breaking point, having been left badly exposed to soaring bills after a decade of standstill wages and universal credit cuts.
“Ministers have no hesitation in calling for public-sector pay restraint but ignore shocking City excess.
“It’s time to hold down bonuses at the top – not wages for everyone else.”
Ms O’Grady called on the government to clamp down on the “greedy bonus culture” by putting workers on company pay boards and introducing maximum pay ratios.
“And it’s time for the government to get wages rising across the economy by boosting the minimum wage immediately, funding decent pay rises for all public-sector workers and introducing fair pay agreements for whole industries,” she said.
The TUC is calling for government action including limits on bonuses as a percentage of total pay, availability of bonuses to all staff – not just fat-cat executives, public-sector pay rises in line with cost-of-living increases, and restoration of earnings lost over the last decade.
Corporate accountancy firm Deloitte has reported that the ratio of bosses’ pay to workers’ pay is now 81 to one. Pat Harrington, General Secretary of Solidarity union, commented: “How can a ratio of 81 to 1 be just. It’s both unfair and divisive. It’s obvious that the few are insulated from the cost-of-living crisis whilst the many bear the cost. So when the reactionary media attack the RMT and other unions for asking for pay increases I want you to remember that these same people are partying while ordinary folk have to think about what they can put on the table. We stand with our brothers and sisters – Victory to the RMT and all unions fighting for their members!”