Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Need for Fair Pay Commission and maximum pay cap

Recent news relating to renumeration and pay suggest changes are urgently needed. Apparently, the low pay commission is to meet later this year with a view to reviewing the minimum wage. Clearly this review is long overdue; even right-wing coalition politicians like Osborne and Clegg have been arguing for a rise in the minimum wage, admittedly with the election in mind, but also because of popular necessity. The rise, when announced, will undoubtedly be insufficient, as scaremongering about job losses from the likes of the CBI will hold sway. The living wage will still be beyond the reach of millions of workers.
      The truth is that the low pay commission is an anachronism, and what is needed instead is a Fair Pay Commission, which, as the name suggests, can concern itself with the other pressing pay problem currently bedevilling our society; if the country needs a commission to ensure employers do not pay their workers pittance, it stands to reason it also needs one to insist they do not pay themselves too much.With payments of over £1m each to 239 senior executives at HSBC, and an extra £32k a week for the boss, it is clear a maximum wage (or salary, which includes bonuses) has much in its favour:
       It would, no doubt, encourage some bankers and their ilk to seek their obscene fortunes elsewhere, leaving room for banks and financial institutions to employ decent individuals, not obsessed with earning one hundred times or more the national average. The inequality gap would be reduced, and the country could aspire to move up from 28th out of 34 in the equality league table. By paying bosses at the top less, companies could afford to ensure all their workers, directly or indirectly employed, received decent pay, so raising the prestige of so-called less important jobs like cleaners and labourers. Another important advantage of having a cap on top pay is that businesses would save money, thereby encouraging more investment, as well as reducing  the need to pursue either tax avoidance scams or increased "efficiency", which in today`s business jargon simply equates to thousands of jobs being  cut. Its introduction would also assist in the long term in the education process, necessary if future societies are not to be dominated by greed like ours. 
    The same commission could be given the additional task of awarding the Fair Pay Mark to companies which met the necessary criteria, giving the public more information before deciding where to allocate their custom, in the same way the recently launched Fair Tax Mark will do.
     Banks and City institutions show no embarrassment when announcing massive pay increases; on the contrary, they`re giving a two-fingered salute aimed at everyone in the country. Labour has a moral duty to pledge the founding of a new commission and a cap on high pay. Stuff the outrage of the Mail, Telegraph and the City`s minions in the Tory party.


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