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GMB calls for minimum wage hike as directors’ pay widens earnings divide

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Directors and chief executives earn 20 times more than those at the bottom; the news has angered unions.

General union GMB is calling on a hike in the minimum wage to £7 per hour to help out those on a basic salary. According to their research, chief executives take home an average £214,062 per year. This is 714 per cent of the UK average wage of £29,999 for full-time staff.

Next on the pay charts is brokers on £101,627, or 339 per cent of the UK average. They were followed by financial managers and chartered secretaries on £84,063 (280 per cent) and medical practitioners £78,882 (263 per cent). Fifth in the occupational pay league were senior officers in national government on £69,404 (231 per cent) followed by aircraft pilots and flight engineers on £65,285 (218 per cent).

At the other end of the league in the bottom 10, the lowest in 341st position are waiters and waitresses on £11,303 (38 per cent), while school midday assistants on £11,439 (38 per cent) were the next lowest. Also in the bottom 10 were playgroup leaders/assistants earning £11,550 (39 per cent) and above them were retail cashiers and check-out operators on £12,295 (41 per cent).

Train drivers at 55th in the league, are the highest paid manual workers earning an average of £37,234 (124 per cent). Journalists are in 79th position earning £33,203 (111 per cent). Nurses come 138th earning £27,234 (91 per cent).

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “There are some people at the top earning 40 and 50 times those at the bottom. We are asked to believe that those at the top need to be ‘incentivised’ by multi-million pay packages to maintain a dynamic economy, while at the same time those at the bottom in the public sector must make sacrifices for the good of the economy.

“GMB members do not buy this logic. Those at the top are unnecessarily being paid too much and there is no evidence that there is any benefit from this except to line the pockets of an elite. GMB wants to see the tax system used to even out the rewards and GMB wants the national minimum wage to rise to £7 per hour to help those at the bottom.”

Last month, HR Zone reported on calls from the Trades Union Congress to raise the minimum wage to £6 an hour, a pound less than the GMB is calling for. Workers (aged 22 years plus) are currently entitled to a basic wage of £5.52 an hour, falling to £4.60 for those aged 18 to 21, with younger workers (aged 16 to 17 years old) taking home £3.40.

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Annie Hayes

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