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Income gap widens as UK CEOs outearn workers by 118-fold

Income Gap
22.08.23 23:00

Bosses running Britain's biggest listed companies enjoyed pay raises of 16% last year as workers' wages struggled with the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, research published Tuesday found.

According to the independent think tank High Pay Centre, the median FTSE 100 chief executive officer was paid 118 times the median U.K. full-time worker, up from 108 times in 2021.

Pascal Soriot, of pharma giant AstraZeneca, was the highest paid company chief, earning 16.85 million pounds ($21.5 million) – ahead of Charles Woodburn of BAE Systems, who earned $11.87 million.

Average pay for a FTSE 100 CEO rose from $3.68 million in 2021, to $4.26 million in 2022, the research found.

Unions said the findings showed Britain had become "a land of grotesque extremes."

"While millions of families have seen their budgets shredded by the cost-of-living crisis, city directors have enjoyed bumper pay rises," said Trade Union Congress general secretary Paul Nowak.

Official figures showed workers saw average pay raises of 7.8% over the three months to June compared to a year earlier, but this was reduced to 0.6% once inflation was taken into account.

"At a time when so many households are struggling with living costs, an economic model that prioritizes a 1.5 million pound pay rise for executives who are already multimillionaires is surely going wrong somewhere," Luke Hildyard, director of the High Pay Centre, said.

"We need to give workers more voice on company boards, strengthen trade union rights and enable low- and middle-income earners to get a fairer share in relation to those at the top," he added.

Britain has been hit by strikes across the economy over the past year from ambulance drivers and doctors to lawyers and teachers as inflation has risen sending housing, food and heating costs soaring.

U.K. inflation – currently running at 6.8% down from 7.9% in June – has for months been the highest among G-7 nations, despite the Bank of England hiking its key interest rate more than a dozen times in succession to try to tame it, AFP reports.

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