As the government claims the economy is heading into a recovery, it seems the fat cats at the top of the heap see this as an opportunity to increase their pay and once again lap-up as much wealth as they can for themselves, regardless of how poor their performance may have been, and regardless of what everyone else might be forced to go through in the name of Austerity.
Firstly Barclays*, which has been rocked by several recent scandals including Libor fixing, Foreign Currency fixing, and customer mis-selling, is nevertheless paying out £2.4bn in bonuses to its top staff this year, which means that 481 of its staff now earn over £1m/year each, including 8 on more than £5m/year. It is also introducing special ‘allowances’ of up to £1m for 1000 of its senior staff, in order to circumvent the EU cap on bonuses. All this despite their profits falling 32% last year.
Meanwhile over at Lloyds Bank*, which is 33% owned by the taxpayer, they are similarly introducing special ‘allowances’ to avoid the bonus cap, which means 27 of their top staff now take home over £820,000 each, including chief-exec Antonio Horta-Osorio who is getting paid no less than £4.9m this year.
Even more outrageously the Co-op*, long beloved by many customers as an ethical alternative to a corrupt banking system, also now seems to be succumbing to greed, and is introducing massive pay increases for its top staff, despite recent scandals and the fact the bank is currently in dire financial straits. Even though they lost around £2bn last year and are being forced to lay-off 5,000 staff, their new chief-exec, Euan Sutherland, is set to receive a £3.66m pay package this year, which is a massive increase on last year when his predecessor, Peter Marks, was paid a ‘mere’ £1.3m. Seven other top execs are to be paid over £½m/year, more than double what they were paid last year.
And over at British Petroleum*, which is still recovering from the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Chief Exec Bob Dudley saw his pay triple last year to £5.2m, along with similarly huge increases for several other top execs.
As is so familiar now, these corporations all justify their massive pay increases with arguments about ‘market rates’ and ‘paying for talent’, never mind that ‘market rates’ never seem to apply to the rest of society where ordinary people are forced to suffer Austerity, and never mind that these people get their huge pay packets whether they’re talented or not. It’s all a big con, with fat cats lapping-up the wealth and the rest of society footing the bill. Free-market theories can only ever create an increasingly unequal and unfair society, and will continue doing so until people decide they’ve finally had enough, and get rid of our corrupt economic and political system. For more on the fundamental flaws of ‘free market’ economics click here.
*References: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2574024/Lloyds-boss-Antonio-Horta-Osorio-gets-900-000-shares-allowance-year-salary-potential-bonus-bank-looks-sidestep-new-European-rules-capping-payouts.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576662/Co-Operative-Group-pay-chief-executive-3-5m-pay-bonuses-year-job-despite-1-5bn-hole-banks-finances.html and http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/mar/06/bob-dudley-chief-executive-bp-triples-pay