UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Compass Launches Commission on Executive Pay‏

An investigation into the escalating pay of boardroom bosses will be launched today as Barclays prepares to reveal that its investment banking arm has amassed a pay and bonus pot of at least £4bn this year.

But if you knew you could vote on Executive pay at every stock market registered company's AGM which way would you vote? Yes indeed against, so why don't pension funds consult their members on whihc way they should vote our shares?

Better still we should be telling them to reject the bloated and swollen pay of a club of men that feast off of our labour and our savings. So why not send an email to your pension fund asking them to stop runaway executive pay today! As the high pay commission, set up by the thinktank Compass and backed by the Joseph Rowntree charitable trust, begins its year-long analysis into the widening gap between the lowest and highest paid, a Compass poll shows that 99% of people believe that top executives are overpaid.

The poll, intended to coincide with the launch of the commission, shows that only 1% of people think that top executives should be paid as much as they are, while 64% believe that a chief executive should take home less than £500,000 a year: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/nov/09/executive-pay-inquiry-launched

Vince Cable, the business secretary, has already launched a review of British business which will include an analysis of soaring executive pay. However, chancellor George Osborne is yet to give any guidance on whether proposals to expose pay deals of more than £1m in the banking sector made by City grandee Sir David Walker will be adopted by the government.

Compass began campaigning for the government to create a high pay commission more than a year ago when it suggested that a maximum pay ratio should be imposed on companies so that the top earner at a company never earns more than a precise multiple of the lowest earner.

With the previous government failing to adopt its ideas and the coalition also shunning its proposal, Compass is appointing Deborah Hargreaves, a former Financial Times journalist and one-time business editor of the Guardian, to chair the commission. She will be joined by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Newby; Brian Bailey, director of pensions at the West Midlands Pension Fund; Frances O'Grady, deputy general secretary of the TUC; and Michael Taylor, former director of Christian Aid.

The commission, which Compass stressed would be independent, will focus on top pay in the private sector and comes after research by Incomes Data Services that found the pay of boardroom bosses rose 55% in a year. The average chief executive of a FTSE 100 company was paid a total of more than £4m.

Hargreaves said: "Pay at the top is one of the most pressing debates of the day. The forthcoming spending cuts will shift the public's focus even more onto the question of fairness and the gap between high and low pay."

The commission begins its analysis amid estimates that Barclays Capital has set aside another £1.5bn to pay its 25,000 staff on top of the £3bn pay and bonus pot that had been amassed half way through the year. A trading statement by Barclays due today is expected to show a downturn in investment banking profits in the third quarter - matching the recent results from many of its rivals.