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Should Britain have a more equal pay structure?

00:25 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

BBC Radio 4 is starting a series looking at how much people are paid. Are you worth your wage?

Pay is very much in the news at the moment. From bankers' bonuses to pay freezes and pay strikes, everyone is concerned about what they earn. One influential book says pay inequality worsens everything from health to violence.

The prime minister has asked a commission to investigate a 20:1 ratio between top and bottom earners in the public sector.
This week, Radio 4 is examining these questions in its Can Pay, Will Pay series.


As a society, do people broadly get paid the right amount - too much, or too little? Should we aspire to greater equality, and if so how could it be achieved? Would a ratio between top and bottom pay be a good thing? Are executives worth their huge pay packets?

Can Pay, Will Pay, is on Radio 4 at 0900 BST on Thursday 16 September, and on Friday 17 September.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    like communism?
    it doesn't work, will never work.
    There are always folk that will take extra perks, like housing allowances
    and bonuses under the counter, the secret handshake brigade. People that save, and those who double their money.
    all though in principle a cleaner is just as valuable to society as the cheif exec of a certain council earning 105,000. just what does she do for this money? is she as good as Tony or David? I hope so.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think its fair enough that people who have skills that are sought after or people who have a lot of responsibility are paid a decent wage (maybe 3 or 4 times the average). Obviously its all dependant on the position.

    What I dont think anyone agrees with is heads of banks having pay & bonus packages worth £11 million a year. They blatantly arent worth it. I'm a football fan but definitely dont agree with the wages the players get.

    But then to start limiting what people are paid is surely a step towards Communism? People will say they get paid what employes are willing to pay them and they're entitled to that and I can see that view point. But that doesnt negate the point that the wages are stupidly high. What do you do with £11 million a year?

  • Comment number 3.

    Yes, we need some form of control on pay. A small group of people seem to have a grip on it at the moment and (unsurprisingly) they've decided that they should be paid the most. Large companies are run Mafia style, with tribute from underlings filtering up to the top.

    The problem is doing anything about it. One option is revolution, probably in the form of industrial action, but this is unlikely to happen, especially in a recession.

    The other option is for government to step in and actually stand up for the people they represent, rather than just pretending to. Again unlikely.

    I'm in favour of the second option. I like a light touch state, but I want it to intervene when self regulation fails. It's failed in the case of senior execs and their pay.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes, but there are just too many greedy people in our society for such equality to happen. The current system is based around the principle that greed will drive people to work harder and achieve better-paid jobs. The problem is that this is all an illusion, the reality is that you get more pay based on how much influence you have. People can put 100% effort everyday into their job but unless that effort is recognised then it will never be rewarded. If you're at the base of the pyramid then people hardly notice you exist so you're much less likely to get a promotion / pay rise. People at the top of the pyramid have the most influence so they consistently get pay rises and even expect to whether they work well or not. Hence, you get the uncontrollable increase in inequality that we see today.

    Like the first comment, people will say communism doesn't work but they fail to realise that capitalism doesn't "work" either. The sensible thing to do would be to find a balance. A Gaussian pay structure is what we should be aiming for, where the majority of people are being paid a wage close to the mean of the workforce. This would allow variation to reward hard-workers but also make sure that the people near the bottom don't get forgotten.

    Legislation should be brought in to make this happen but none of the current parties would back this as they are all tied to the greedy people at the top of the pyramid! The inequality gap is continuing to grow though and there will be a breaking point. Simply put, you will never be able to justify 0.1% of the population owning 99.9% of the wealth if/when it gets to that point.

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course it should. I think both democracy and communism have something to offer each other. I'm not saying that a PM should have the same wage as a cleaner, but at the same time people like actors, footballers, bankers and CEOs should not be earning so much more money compared to those below them.

  • Comment number 6.

    We can ALL do with the same levels of Pay as Bankers, Politicians and other Jobs set aside for the Elite Classes, and how about while were at it Equal Bonuses and Working Conditions as well. Simple fix - it. Problem solved.

  • Comment number 7.

    Every public service employee should be required to submit a 6 monthly report to tax payers expliaing why we should continue to pay his/her wages.

  • Comment number 8.

    My comment is that public service employees have created nothing other than self-indulgence.

  • Comment number 9.

    OK, I funded myself all the way through Uni, got a Ph.D, work hard doing medical research all day long. Doctors get all the credit for curing diseases on the back of work by people like me, so they gay paid enough to all be driving around in Jags and Astons, while I get paid about half as much as a central heating engineer. So, how is that going to work? according to the registrar general, I'm up there with lawyers and medics, but according to my bank manager, my wage is dead average. If your answer is "should have trained to be a heating engineer/plumber instead of a scientist", my answer is, "can't, don't like spiders" and I always seem to encounter them while trying to do plumbing jobs.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, I am worth the money. My skills are in short(ish) supply and I make the company more than I get paid.

    It's how it works. Anything else, determining pay grades at a governmental level, is a top-down command economy and doomed to failure. Not to mention that if the money was the same then I'd probably prefer a job that gets me out of the office a bit more and involves some exercise. Grounds keeper in a park perhaps.

    Equal pay for all would mean not only would a lot of currently highly skilled people not bother to become highly skilled, but a lot more would also leave the UK looking for a better deal. There's a reason that the communist countries have/had to operate with closed borders. It's human nature to seek out the best for yourself, and who are you to say that someone shouldn't be rewarded for their skill and ingenuity?

    The other end of the spectrum is of course that people earning multiple millions in bonuses for shuffling figures around probably shouldn't be. Sitting at a desk manipulating figures is not productive work and their multi-million pound bonuses don't just come out of thin air. There needs to be a good honest look at where the money comes from and just how these individuals, if they are making a lot of money for the companies they work for, are able to do so. Whatever loopholes, gaps, techniques they are exploiting to make this cash seemingly appear out of thin air need to be closed.

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, women shouldn't be paid to be mothers.

  • Comment number 12.

    Iceagecometh1: Does that include the army of administrators who would be required to process those submissions? If there wasn't such an army, who would these submissions be sent to?

    "Public service employees have created nothing..." Literally correct but make your comment to the nurse who cares for you when you are ill or the cleaner who cleans up when you puke on the hospital floor. Plus, unless you want the nurse doing her own paperwork, the admin who checks her hours and pays her salary each month.

    London Harris: But then the country would go bankrupt even faster than it already is.

    Senior managers should be paid more - for the responsibility and undoubted stress involved in the job - but are not worth more than 20 times the lowest paid member of staff (pro rata) and so this is a good suggestion, although twenty times is probably generous. As the article says it is a myth that you have to pay or lose the greatest talent. If the talent is so great, why the financial mess we are in as a global economy? There are plenty of people capable and willing to do at least as well on 100,000 a year as those who currently get 200,000. It isn't Communism, just good sense. Excessive pay is wasteful, causes resentment and is the result of those who control the budgets giving themselves the best deals. This is totally wrong in public finance. The rewards for public servants should be decided independently. It makes financial sense for private companies too but will fat cats restrict their own access to the cream - what do you think?

  • Comment number 13.

    Am I worth my wage?

    Good question and one to which I don't really know the answer. All I can say with certainty is that if I am not worth my wage then all the bean counters and desk jockeys I am carrying certainly aren't worth theirs.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    #12 Cav

    If you don't pay well for talent then talent either goes somewhere where it can be paid better or it starts out on its own.

    Of course this only applies in situations where there is actual hard skill/talent. Administration and management *are* skills, but not in the same way so I partially agree with you that there are plenty of people who could do a lot of these jobs for half the cash. But that is far from universally applicable.

  • Comment number 16.

    Surely the stupidest question yet on HYS.

    "As a society, do people broadly get paid the right amount - too much, or too little?"

    Yes. With the exception of those on minimum wage, who wage is artificially high.

    "Should we aspire to greater equality, and if so how could it be achieved?"

    No. This is like saying "should we aspire to make water run uphill?"

    "Would a ratio between top and bottom pay be a good thing?"

    There already is a ratio. You just don't like it, and you'd like to reduce in typical Commie-B-C style.

    "Are executives worth their huge pay packets?"

    The market says so. You should buy one get one free.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    Equal to and for whom?

    It is vital that, where earnings are concerned, the status quo must be maintained with the best getting the most - however one chooses to make that call and regardless of gender or ethnic origin - for without this market driven reality in the labor market one can only expect workplace ennui and non-performance.

    It should be a fact of life that those who work and try the hardest and contribute the most are the same people who reap the highest benefits - yet another completely alien UK concept after 13+ years of a socialist government who positively, by both word and deed, encouraged a huge percentage of our population to be lazy scroungers and slackers who have come to expect something for nothing, whilst at the same time demanding 'equality' for pay and conditions.

  • Comment number 20.

    Let's face facts, all public service employees are a drain on the economy. Competent persons have survived despite incompetent public service. Public services have expanded irresponsinly in proportion to demand from the irresponsible.

  • Comment number 21.

    Equality, human rights, etc, are only a prescription for legal aid and it's profiteers. It's still a fact that the EU exists only because it is unaccountable.

  • Comment number 22.

    Why diesn't the BBC ask this question of their publically funded stars and managers? Are they worth what they are paid or are they paid what the market will stand? Sort your own house first before meddling in ours.

    Tosh left wing communism question

  • Comment number 23.

    Reading the comments the answer has to be :

    NO, we are happy in our servitude or jealous of our advantages; GB does it again! Perhaps we could change the flag to an image of a self-flagellating monk? For the more wordly-wise:

    Professor Greg Philo: Privatise the National Debt.-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV5Ju18A8Ow

  • Comment number 24.

    I see the scaremongerer got in a first liner 'communism'and so he is obviously not keen to change the status quo. I'd criticise Cameron's lack of grey mattter for a very different reason however.

    Career structures are what is needed with promotion on merit and not because daddy happens to work here too, because someone has an indiscriminate tongue, or because they always do exactly what they are told. If we cut out fast trackers, graduate 'jobs' (whatever they might be), cannon fodder, fixed term recruitment, zero contracts, and smart ass 'migrants are better' styles, we may actually return to decent pay structures whether they conform to 1:20 or whatever.

    We may even get some good work done too.

  • Comment number 25.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 26.

    @MellorSJ The market says a lot of things, including that deregulation is a great thing and that the state is a meddling nuisance - until they get themselves in a mess through greed and then need the despised state to bail them out. Your viewpoint on equality appears to assume that economic activity is the only measure of human existence.

    Society needs the work of people at all levels equally. If everyone was a CEO then who would serve in the restaurants they attend? Society only works through the good will of the majority. There does have to be a disparity but if it gets too extreme and a person sees that, no matter how hard they work within their ability, they can never hope for even a modest luxury then why should they follow societies rules? If society doesn't care for them then why should they care for society? I have a lot of sympathy for those who, in those circumstances, bend the rules and break the law. Society has a duty to provide for all, while rewarding enterprise, or it has no rights to impose restrictions. People form their own economies then in the form of the black market.

    I actually agree that when it comes to a private company they have the right to pay what they wish but do we really want the very managers who control budgets in public service organisations, deciding on pay and awarding themselves or, at the very least colleagues in the same 'club', outrageous salaries? There should be a large differential between the salary of a cleaner and the CEO, because of the disparity in responsibility and intensity of workload but that needs to be contained. That satisfies #19, James, very true requirement.

    In a poor economy there are plenty of capable people willing to work for less if those too greedy decide to go elsewhere Gothnet. But I take the point that in some rare circumstances that isn't the case. However, they are rare.

  • Comment number 27.


    Every job as a value. The value of any job depends on location,skill level ,need and, how many "others" can do the job.
    Wages levels are usually controlled by the Price you can "sell" that work done for.
    So why is there a great variation in wages?
    Unfortunately there are some sectors within society that have been feathered bedded by "protectionism ".

    A prime example of which is the Public Sector .
    The Public sector are in a privileged position ,whereby through union pressure have obtained a protected higher national minimum wage than in the private sector .
    Such internal wage agreements are to the the benefit of ALL Public sectors employees ,There are simply aren't any real employers in the Public sectors (apart from Joe Public)

    Such wages agreements , prohibit Local government from sourcing cheaper alternative in the private sector. Any private sector tender MOST cost at the same "higher public sector minimum wage "

    The consequence of "featherbedding" local government results in higher taxation higher business rate etc. When business has to pay "over the odds " in business rates etc. It directly effective the wages in the private sector.

    Until such a vast difference of wages and perks ,between the Private and Public sector seriously address it is pointless trying to re-invent UK Enterprise that would reward hard work.

  • Comment number 28.

    1. At 01:06am on 16 Sep 2010, braveraddish wrote:
    like communism?
    it doesn't work, will never work.
    There are always folk that will take extra perks, like housing allowances
    and bonuses under the counter, the secret handshake brigade. People that save, and those who double their money.

    -----------------------------------

    Correction, there will always be people who consider themselves to be better than anyone else. But remember this, no man can do it all on his own. There will come a time when you might need the support of others; how will you feel if everyone you meet is only bothered about looking after number one? Greed promotes seperatism and selfishness which in turn breeds discontentment in the masses and generally leads to wars and revolution.

  • Comment number 29.

    Pay or any other kind of 'equality' will never happen, the reason for this is that individuals are simply not equal, never have been, never will be.

    I'm starting to get a bit fed up with the equality lobby ramming this pie in the sky nonsense down our throats every day. While the vast majority of the population are just trying to earn a crust, the thought that someone might be getting paid more than me never crosses my mind. Speaking for myself I have to find my own work, I have to understand plans, engineers reports, surveyors reports and then I have to put my personal money where my mouth is, every month, thats why I earn more than the those who can't or don't want to do the above, it is a risk after all.

    As for the public sector or large businesses, you have to have a rising pay scale the higher up the ladder you go, I don't undertsand why this is such a problem, although I do understand that in the public sector there are an awful lot of people from top to bottom that shouldn't really be there, I'm fairly sure that in the private sector many of these people would be without work. Small businesses and large companies alike these days cannot afford to pay for those that are not pulling their weight. But having said that I would fully expect the Chief to get paid a lot more than the girl or boy who just joined from college.

    If those at the bottom don't like it then work harder to try and climb the ladder, if you can't get up the ladder then more often than not that means you aren't good enough to go higher simple as that, its no good whinging about it, that goes for men and women.

    There are a number people today who seem to think they are worth a lot more than they actually are, they range from the lowest to the highest, but I think on the whole most will progress through their working life according to ability and ambition, and most will end up in a position that reflects both, its the natural order of things, and to try and fiddle with it would be disastrous.

  • Comment number 30.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 31.

    When I consider the salary I took home during my time as a Public Servant (Armed Forces) and my salary now in the Private Sector, I earn far less now for double the workload!! I have been promised wage increases due to my workload, however we have been under a pay freeze for the past 2 years to weather the recession. The Public Sector does not know it is born!!!!
    A ratio could not possibly work and we will see a massive brain drain if implemented. Why do we just not live with the fact that there will always be a huge divide between rich & poor and we can then move on?

  • Comment number 32.

    8. At 04:04am on 16 Sep 2010, iceagecometh1 wrote:
    My comment is that public service employees have created nothing other than self-indulgence.
    .......................................................................
    Really, my father was a soldier for 23 years keeping you safe in your bed at night, a public service employee. When he left the army and was thrown on the scrap heap by the Thatcher government he worked permanent nights on security for 7 years until he got a job with the local council environmental health, keeping you safe in your bed at night, public service employee.

    Where does the self indulgence come in?

  • Comment number 33.

    It seems that top management is a club that can award themselves their own pay rise. How about anyone being paid above a certain level has to be authorized by a majority of shareholders at the AGM.

    It is not governments job to limit top pay but it should be made easier for the owners of the company, the shareholders, to do so.

  • Comment number 34.


    There should be much more equality in pay, but those with specialised jobs which help people should get more than average.

    The banks and bankers have been ripping off people for years and it is a disgrace. There should be an end to private banks and large interest rates should be banned.

    A flat level of interest rate not exceeding 5% should be established, although it would be better if it were less and nothing. Many people are put over a barrel regarding having to get a mortgage or loan to start a business and work and are then held to ransom and bled dry by fat cats who end up with millions in bonuses at the end of the year from the sweat of the masses.

    All high end executives make way too much money for what they do and most are gifted their position due to who you know family linages. Same with the government when you observe the current tory group. They have mostly been groomed for power from eton and similar private schools, there is not much chance for an average person to become prime minister.

    an end to fat cats and high interest rate lending and the establishment of greater pay equality across the board with those who contribute to helping others more getting more but not an obnoxious amount as the current fat cat executives and bankers do.





  • Comment number 35.

    The seeker of equality of outcomes, is the seeker of the ZERO!

  • Comment number 36.

    No one is worth the millions like some banking people and im sure many others that don`t hit the headlines , I fail to see how anyone can be worth that sort of money.

  • Comment number 37.

    7. At 03:52am on 16 Sep 2010, iceagecometh1 wrote:

    Every public service employee should be required to submit a 6 monthly report to tax payers expliaing why we should continue to pay his/her wages.

    = = = = = = =

    Only if -

    Every PRIVATE service employee should be required to submit a 6 monthly report to the tax payers explaining why their employers should continue to pay his/her wages. Because at the moment they don't either. AND the waste in private industry is just as high - The difference is the private company just passes the cost on to the consumer.

  • Comment number 38.

    #26 Cav

    I don't believe it's that rare at all. If we start to interfere with the salaries of the likes of engineers and doctors then we will start to see even more leaving. We already have a shortage of competent computer programmers, for instance, with good ones highly sought after.

    There is no hoard of people waiting in the wings to do it for half the price. More's the pity as far as industry is concerned. If we drive people off, either by excessive taxation of mid-high earners or by meddling with what they can be paid, then they will sell their skills elsewhere and the UK will miss out.

  • Comment number 39.

    Cav cavils: "@MellorSJ The market says a lot of things, including that deregulation is a great thing and that the state is a meddling nuisance - until they get themselves in a mess through greed and then need the despised state to bail them out."

    Simple enough. No bailouts.

    "Your viewpoint on equality appears to assume that economic activity is the only measure of human existence."

    Non sequitur. And in any event, we are talking about pay, so it would seem reasonable to focus on that aspect of life.

    "Society needs the work of people at all levels equally."

    What is this nonsense?

    "If everyone was a CEO then who would serve in the restaurants they attend?"

    I know MANY CEOs who work in restaurants. They're called "sole proprietors."

    "Society only works through the good will of the majority. There does have to be a disparity but if it gets too extreme and a person sees that, no matter how hard they work within their ability, they can never hope for even a modest luxury then why should they follow societies rules? If society doesn't care for them then why should they care for society?"

    This is why we have taxes--already at draconian rates. The rest of this HYS is drivel designed to do two things. First, advertise the Beeb's program on pay, and second to perpetuate the ludicrous myth that a job has a "worth" other than what a willing buyer is willing to pay for it.

    "I have a lot of sympathy for those who, in those circumstances, bend the rules and break the law. Society has a duty to provide for all, while rewarding enterprise, or it has no rights to impose restrictions. People form their own economies then in the form of the black market."

    Like that vicar last year who said it was OK to steal if you were poor? The rest of the paragraph is incomprehensible.

    "I actually agree that when it comes to a private company they have the right to pay what they wish"

    Well, hallelujah!

    "but do we really want the very managers who control budgets in public service organisations, deciding on pay and awarding themselves or, at the very least colleagues in the same 'club', outrageous salaries?"

    No. As 'owner' of the public sector the gummint sets the rates.

    "There should be a large differential between the salary of a cleaner and the CEO, because of the disparity in responsibility and intensity of workload"

    Rubbish. CEOs are paid more because they have skills that cannot easily be replicated. Hence supply is limited and the price rises.

    "but that needs to be contained. That satisfies #19, James, very true requirement."

    James is also confused. If we rewarded people by how hard they work, many a cleaner would be paid more than middle management (esp. in the public sector.) Get it straight: THERE IS NO DIRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH HOW HARD ONE MUST WORK IN A GIVEN PROFESSION AND PAY LEVELS. Though, of course, a hard-working cleaner can and should be paid more than a lazy cleaner. And an effective CEO can and should be paid more than an ineffective one.

    "In a poor economy there are plenty of capable people willing to work for less if those too greedy decide to go elsewhere Gothnet. But I take the point that in some rare circumstances that isn't the case. However, they are rare."

    Gothnet? What isn't the case? What is rare?

  • Comment number 40.

    Peter Hoath writes: "How about anyone being paid above a certain level has to be authorized by a majority of shareholders at the AGM.

    It is not governments job to limit top pay but it should be made easier for the owners of the company, the shareholders, to do so."

    +1

    Or, if I were voting for the Labour leader, + who-the-heck-knows?

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    Sylvia D opines: "No one is worth the millions like some banking people and im sure many others that don`t hit the headlines , I fail to see how anyone can be worth that sort of money."

    What you see or fail to see, Sylvia, is of absolutely zero importance.

    The fact is that the owners of the banks chose to pay their executives certain sums. You may or may not like that, but it's none of your beeswax, is it?

  • Comment number 43.

    Gothnet wrote: "I don't believe it's that rare at all. If we start to interfere with the salaries of the likes of engineers and doctors then we will start to see even more leaving. We already have a shortage of competent computer programmers, for instance, with good ones highly sought after."

    This is already happening, and it is accelerating. Indian programmers are willing to work for considerably less, and the quality of their work is (can be) very high. Look at Tata. They'll compete with anyone.

    Programming in the West is going to die out...

  • Comment number 44.

    33. At 07:37am on 16 Sep 2010, Peter Hoath wrote:
    It seems that top management is a club that can award themselves their own pay rise. How about anyone being paid above a certain level has to be authorized by a majority of shareholders at the AGM.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Shareholders do get to vote on both Directors keeping their jobs and on Directors' pay.

    There is an argument that shareholders have become lax and just approve anything but they get the vote you want them to have.

  • Comment number 45.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 46.

    There is a simple way to spread the profit of a business through its employees and it is practised by the John Lewis Partnership.

    https://www.johnlewispartnership.co.uk/

    But of course, sharing the profits with the workers is seen as a bad thing these days.

  • Comment number 47.

    Yes, we should have greater equality.
    Public sector pay and pensions should be reduced by 22.1% to bring them into line with the private sector.
    The maximum pay, for anyone, should be limited to an arbitary number (say 7) times the minimum wage.

  • Comment number 48.

    Apparently I am not worth what I was paid as, despite being responsible for the few positive comments in a mediocre OFSTED report the college for which I used to work made me redundant. Now they've moved to a shiny new building.

  • Comment number 49.

    #39 MellorSJ - "Gothnet? What isn't the case? What is rare?"

    I think that's a reply to my upthread comment that if we start meddling with people's salaries we'll start losing talent.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    #43 MellorSJ

    I don't necessarily agree that programming in the west will die out. Whilst there is no reason that it can't move to other countries (and is to some extent already doing so) the majority of outsourcing to Indian companies/contractors in India has, in my experience and that of others, been overwhelmingly negative.

    Talking to Indian colleagues I'm told that this is because all the top people leave for the US. The slightly-less-than-top people leave for Europe and, well, who gets left behind?

    This is probably already changing but IMHO the death of programming in the west is somewhat prematurely reported.

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes, there is too much discrepancy between salaries for different trades and professions.

    For example, imagine you are a computer technician and you visit a solicitor for advice what will he charge, £100, £200 or more per hour.

    Now imagine the solicitors computer which he depends on fails and calls the technician to fix it what would he be willing to pay £15, £20 per hour?

    There is just as much responsibility and keeping abreast of technology in IT as there is in keeping abreast with law.

    Now take the bankers if they went on strike would we miss them? Now let the refuse or sewerage personnel go on strike would we miss them.

    Like the economy that recently went bump because it was over inflated there are many jobs which are also over inflated mainly because they have a licence to print their money and that needs to change through higher taxes if necessary.

    I do not have a problem with people earning large salaries through their own efforts and hard work but there are lot of people who earn big monies on the back of other peoples hard work and efforts.

    I have never been a supporter of the minimum wage but I do believe that lower wages should be linked to upper wages so that the whole process lifts it self up by its own boot straps.


    For example I want to start company and need staff but I cannot afford to pay minimum wage so I pay less but the company takes off and money is pouring in and any benefits I take out should be reflected in the rewards to my staff but in many companies that is not the case as the staff are ignored as in a high unemployment country like our new staff are ten a penny and if the workers aren’t happy they are welcome to leave and get another job.

    I know this last fact to be true as I recently worked for such a company.

  • Comment number 53.

    34. At 07:39am on 16 Sep 2010, GoldFiligree wrote:

    There should be much more equality in pay, but those with specialised jobs which help people should get more than average.

    The banks and bankers have been ripping off people for years and it is a disgrace. There should be an end to private banks and large interest rates should be banned.

    A flat level of interest rate not exceeding 5% should be established, although it would be better if it were less and nothing. Many people are put over a barrel regarding having to get a mortgage or loan to start a business and work and are then held to ransom and bled dry by fat cats who end up with millions in bonuses at the end of the year from the sweat of the masses.

    = = = = = = = =

    But teachers (public service) are not well paid for the work they do (I actually worked 60 hrs - but was paid for 27.5 hrs) nor for the investment they make for future of the country. As I understand it nor are Nurses well paid.

    EXACTLY why should my savings have an artificial cap made upon it? It is savings that fuel the loans system - whether pension funds or whatever.

    I worked hard to accrue that savings - now it "earns" a miserly interest rate of 0.5% a TEN times drop in my income from 2 years ago. Mortgage payers and other loans benefit from low interest rates - Savers are punished. I also had to pay a 15% mortgage rate (under a Tory Government) when buying my house.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am reminded of Ted Heath "A fair days pay for a fair days work" just what is a fair days pay? then what is a fair days work?

    Are public sector employees any different to private sector employees? Many on HYS claim to have worked in both, why should they be treated so differently?

    The concept of a footsie executive being paid several million a year while paying those who actually create the profit fifteen thousand a year, is in my view, to quote Ted Heath again " the unacceptable face of capitalism" This is not communism, communism would advocate that both should be paid the same amount, whereas for example the chief executive of John Lewis group has a multipier of his staffs pay for his salary, he in my view is a good example of executive leadership. The point of the stress that executives work in, is saying that the employees below them do not experience any stress, which is again absurd.

    If the arguament is that the market should always decide, then we should not have interviened in the banking crises, there should not be any regulation of markets, then dog eat dog would prevail, quite clearly this is rediculous, if we must regulate markets, then why not have some regulation on pay in some form of multiplier? This would agree with Adam Smith in his book wealth of nations, hardly a communist, or communist book!

  • Comment number 55.

    Sounds like communism to me.

    I think we have enough problems with the last socialist government who seemed to think employing people was an end in itself and paying middle managers exhorbitant pay to manage the overstaffed minions.

  • Comment number 56.

    If the question is "Should Britain have a more equal pay structure" the answer is "NO". In private sector it is up to the employer and the market to decide how much an employee worth.
    If the question is "Should public sector in Britain have less very highly paid people", the answer is "probably".

  • Comment number 57.

    I think the current problems are caused by the fact that the people on lower incomes are being told to take pay freezes (if not cuts), whereas the better off are still getting enormous salaries AND bonuses.

    The poor are paying for mistakes that are not their own. The rich (whose mistakes they were) are not paying to anything like the same scale.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's called egalitarianism.
    Japan and Norway both practice it.

    So the guy who cleans the toilets gets 30k while the guy who runs the firm gets 300k
    Japan and Norway both rank amongst the highest standards of living on the planet.

    Britain and the USA rank amongst the lowest because their wages structure is skewed towards the boss getting 3million and the toilet guy getting 10k.
    So the toilet guy pays his bills and buys nowt except bread and water kind of thing, he also looks seriously at going on the dole because there aint much point to working, it doesn't give him a decent standard of living.
    So our bosses import millions of immigrants to do these jobs.

    You gets what ya pays for.

  • Comment number 59.

    Yes and no. Yes it is unjust and slightly sick that one person can earn in an hour what another earns in a year. It is distasteful that some struggle to eat whilst others spend a year's food budget on a handbag. It has never been the amount that people earn that is wrong but simply the differential between the rich and the poor. Perhaps that is now exemplified by the kind of people that earn those large sums and the things they actually do to earn it. It all feels wrong.

    No because there seem to be little you can do about it without potentially damaging the economic success of the country that in turn provides the money for the low earner as well as the high. Many systems and approaches have been tried but none seem to have succeeded.

    I guess I just don't know.

  • Comment number 60.

    Speak to BOB CROW about how salarys should be fair.

    He's Sitting Pretty on a £120,000 Union Salary + Pension + Car when "his members" are according to him "low paid"

  • Comment number 61.

    54. At 08:24am on 16 Sep 2010, weredoomed wrote:

    I am reminded of Ted Heath "A fair days pay for a fair days work" just what is a fair days pay? then what is a fair days work?

    Are public sector employees any different to private sector employees? Many on HYS claim to have worked in both, why should they be treated so differently?

    The concept of a footsie executive being paid several million a year while paying those who actually create the profit fifteen thousand a year, is in my view, to quote Ted Heath again " the unacceptable face of capitalism" This is not communism, communism would advocate that both should be paid the same amount, whereas for example the chief executive of John Lewis group has a multiplier of his staffs pay for his salary, he in my view is a good example of executive leadership. The point of the stress that executives work in, is saying that the employees below them do not experience any stress, which is again absurd.

    If the argument is that the market should always decide, then we should not have interviened in the banking crises, there should not be any regulation of markets, then dog eat dog would prevail, quite clearly this is ridiculous, if we must regulate markets, then why not have some regulation on pay in some form of multiplier? This would agree with Adam Smith in his book wealth of nations, hardly a communist, or communist book!

    == = = = = = =

    Ah - but - Ted Heath was a Gentleman - actually the last Tory Leader I voted for. The rest of the Tories were and are a load of old rubbish - the Lib Dems beneath contempt.

    I completely agree with you. Except of course the Labour policy has always been to help the country - not just the wealthy.

    To have not bailed out the Banks would have caused immense hardship to those with savings in the banks - including pension funds.

  • Comment number 62.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 63.

    I don't work anywhere near as hard as most people on low wages. I'm just paid well to answer questions when everyone else gets stuck.

    We'll never acheive 'equality' in terms of wages, but thats not to say we shouldn't strive for fairness, particularly for those at the bottom of the income scale.

  • Comment number 64.

    Pay equality is difficult in many industries as we all have different levels of experience and qualifications. I know what my worth is and I will do all I can to achieve it. Those most likely to maon about how "unfair" it all is is the most likely to not do anything about it, waiting for it to be done for them

  • Comment number 65.

    Gothnet writes: "I don't necessarily agree that programming in the west will die out. Whilst there is no reason that it can't move to other countries (and is to some extent already doing so) the majority of outsourcing to Indian companies/contractors in India has, in my experience and that of others, been overwhelmingly negative."

    Yes and no. _Some_ outsourcing is a undoubtedly a disaster. I have myself participated in telecons with a 12hr time difference, unreliable lines, and misunderstandings caused by not being able to wander down the hall.

    But I have also seen some good specs. that led to excellent software written in India.

    "Talking to Indian colleagues I'm told that this is because all the top people leave for the US. The slightly-less-than-top people leave for Europe and, well, who gets left behind?"

    True. But there is also a nascent movement back to India as wages rise in India, the cost of living is much less, and you can be closer to your culture and your family. These returnees bring back better skills etc

    "This is probably already changing but IMHO the death of programming in the west is somewhat prematurely reported."

    True. But "programming" has changed its nature. Is a person who writes calculations for a spreadsheet a "programmer"? Used to be ...

  • Comment number 66.

    1. A recent report showed that there is a severe and damaging shortage of Male teachers in Infant and Primary schools. I wonder to what extent the 'Equal Pay' rules have contributed to this problem.
    2. Some years ago, during a previous pay freeze, I was criticised by a woman because as a Policeman I had received a pay rise when she had not. I broke down the pay rise into payment for the job. I explained exactly what i had been doing at work the previous day, it included working in the rain and dark on a Motorway at rush hour. When I asked her how much she wanted to do that job she said that she would not do it for any amount of money. She withdrew her criticism.
    My point is that every job has its own unique features, trying for equality of pay is like classifying waves, it can only be done in wide bands.

  • Comment number 67.

    Yes absolutely.Pay of Directors and senior staff should be based on earning a multiple of the lowest full-time" workers pay.

    Using this scheme, if the lowest annual salary of an employee was £10,000 the Chief Exec could earn a multiple not to exceed 100 times. This is the John Lewis approach, and who says they are not successful?

    As for the arguement that this fails to reward talent - do we really think the over paid under performering directors at the top of banks and other UK plcs really earn their money? No they dont they are employees of the business owners - the shareholders.

    The problem is the craven performance of boards of directors and remuneration commitees held to ransom by self interest, as directors of other PLCs they have a vested interest in keeping directors salaries high, so do not force through reform. As most major companies are PLCs there will be no reform without legislation.

    Such legislation should require a multiple based salary scheme and a bonus structure at the top that is mirrored down the business. This would then ensure that all staff are rewarded in shares, for bonuses these would only vest after 5yrs. Staff would be able to buy shares at a adiscount through share save. This would then enhance dividend payments and support share ownership. However, staff should diversify their shares to avoid Enron style staff shareholder "wipe outs".

  • Comment number 68.

    52 - "For example, imagine you are a computer technician and you visit a solicitor for advice what will he charge, £100, £200 or more per hour.

    Now imagine the solicitors computer which he depends on fails and calls the technician to fix it what would he be willing to pay £15, £20 per hour?

    There is just as much responsibility and keeping abreast of technology in IT as there is in keeping abreast with law."

    Really? Incorrect legal advice could see you ending up in court, losing property or in jail. Incorrect computer advice could see you ending up with a computer that doesn't work.

    If you want to pay £15 a hour for legal advice, you do so.

  • Comment number 69.

    Equal pay can never work because the current system doesnt allow it.The system rewards the rich regardless of whether or not they deserve or actually work for it and the rich can only be so at the expense of the poor. Eventually we must all accept the fact that a money based answer to all our problems will unravel with disasterous consequences.Perhaps then it might occur to us all rich and poor that provided we have what we need we would have no need for money.Pie in the sky?At the moment yes!

  • Comment number 70.

    "33. At 07:37am on 16 Sep 2010, Peter Hoath wrote:
    It seems that top management is a club that can award themselves their own pay rise. How about anyone being paid above a certain level has to be authorized by a majority of shareholders at the AGM."

    That's already the case. Shareholders approve accounts and directors' remuneration and can vote out officers of the company.

  • Comment number 71.

    You get paid for how good you are. If your complaining your boss is on double your wage maybe you should work harder and get his job? Just a thought. I think this arguement can be carried into lots of different aspects of jealously through work. If football players are paid too much for kicking a ball around a field why don't you become one? Oh wait your not good enough...

  • Comment number 72.

    61. At 08:39am on 16 Sep 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    Ah - but - Ted Heath was a Gentleman - actually the last Tory Leader I voted for. The rest of the Tories were and are a load of old rubbish - the Lib Dems beneath contempt.

    I completely agree with you. Except of course the Labour policy has always been to help the country - not just the wealthy.

    To have not bailed out the Banks would have caused immense hardship to those with savings in the banks - including pension funds.


    ===============================

    if Labour were so good perhaps you could explain why the gulf between the top ten percent of earners and the bottom ten percent of earners continued to expand under labour? courting non doms indeed enhancing their ability to avoid paying their share of tax, there is little difference between the tories and labour, I do agree that the Lib Dems have destroyed any crediblity they ever had!
    I do not see any of the political parties as working in the interests of the country, only in their own vested interests.

    My point on the banking crises was that governments must intervene in markets, so why not in pay constraint at the top as well as the bottom, there is no problem for tory or labour to decry pay claims from the bottom, but both support the top, so nothing will be done on high earners.

  • Comment number 73.

    People are paid according to their skill level and what they can bring to the company. If everyone got paid roughly the same wage do you really expect anyone to bother trying hard educating themselves or learning new skills? No, everyone would do as little as possible because they know trying hard would not get much more benefit. Labour has tried to close the rich poor divide and where has it got us? its got generations of people paid well by the government for doing nothing and making careers out of benefits.

  • Comment number 74.

    Varying levels of pay are an essential part of the competitive capitalist system. But the resulting large variations in levels of affluence are unacceptable and threaten the stability of society.

    The Governor of the Bank of England told the TUC that those opposed to the cuts should suggest an alternative way to reduce the deficit. I am surprised that he needs to ask, the answer is so obvious - make the taxation and benefit system properly progressive. Vince Cable's "mansion tax" was in the right direction, but he did a U-turn when a cabinet post was dangled before his eyes.

    Taxing the absurdly high levels of top peoples pay effectively, would kill two birds with one stone. It would reduce the deficit and reduce inequality.

  • Comment number 75.

    John Lewis is the best example of a proper system which works in the marketplace.

    John Lewis is also the sole remaining UK retail employer which still has a decent staff pension, a non-contributory final salary scheme which the staff of other UK retail giants can only DREAM of having.

    Now get back on that oar slave person! and be thankful that you have a job at all!
    (sound of drumbeat in background...boom...boom...boom)

  • Comment number 76.

    Yes, it should be more equal.

    Total pay equality doesn't work. Never has, never will, never should.

    But we obviously should have a pay structure which means that those on the lowest pay scales can afford to pay for food and accommodation and some leisure, without top ups from the state. They should also have way more job security than they currently have.

    That means more money for those at the bottom.

    And there should be far less money for those at the top. No one is really 'worth' the stratospheric salaries paid to some high earners, be it in the public or the private sector.

    We could and should cull out a lot of high earners in the BBC, local government etc, and raise minimum wages.

  • Comment number 77.

    Clearly something is very wrong when sportspeople are paid millions of pounds a year to hit a ball and people such as nurses, fire fighters and council workers who provide an essential service are paid a lot less.

    Also. bankers should not be earning the money that they earn, especially as we have had to bail them out because they messed up. They should be working at minimum wages until they have paid back what they owe.

  • Comment number 78.

    44. At 08:01am on 16 Sep 2010, Wheelies wrote:

    33. At 07:37am on 16 Sep 2010, Peter Hoath wrote:
    It seems that top management is a club that can award themselves their own pay rise. How about anyone being paid above a certain level has to be authorized by a majority of shareholders at the AGM.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Shareholders do get to vote on both Directors keeping their jobs and on Directors' pay.

    There is an argument that shareholders have become lax and just approve anything but they get the vote you want them to have.

    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

    The majority of shareholders these days are not private individuals but financial institutions. Dare I suggest that it is in the interests of the "old boys club" in the city to restrict pay and benefits of staff in a company to increase profit and pay the Directors as much as they like in order to ensure that this is done.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 79.

    #55 Bradford

    Wrote: “Sounds like communism to me. I think we have enough problems with the last socialist government who seemed to think employing people was an end in itself and paying middle managers exhorbitant (sic) pay to manage the overstaffed minions.”

    As an ‘overstaffed minion’ I can confirm I have never been managed in my life….


  • Comment number 80.

    I do think that there should be a more equal wage structure, but the main problem is that those who can be very greedy are very greedy, I’m not sure what any government can do about it, but I see a large change in social attitudes would be needed before any change could take place.

  • Comment number 81.

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

  • Comment number 82.

    Lets pay every single person the same or thereabouts. The well off and entrepreneurs will disappear abroad so there will be little or no private sector. Everyone can therefore be employed by the State. Just ask Russia or Fidel Castro (or perhaps Bob Crow) how that works! and of course, where will all the money come from?

    Even so called Communist China has a thriving capitalist system exporting through Hong Kong and the Chinese and Russian rich get richer and the poor struggle. Fact of life and unchangeable I'm afraid. Same here in The Midle East where "commissions" are THE way of life.

    You can only tax the rich, individuals and companies, by a certain amount otherwise they just move. It may not be fair, but that's the way it is.

  • Comment number 83.

    The problem is not pay inequality per se, but the fact that companies give too much of their profit to too few employees. If a mandatory and high percentage of company profit was returned in dividends to shareholders, or re-invested in expanding the company, it would benefit the nation, and the economy so much better than by giving one man 12 million and him use it to buy a house in Antibes.
    There are few incentives now for investing in the stock market. I have given up.

  • Comment number 84.

    42. At 07:58am on 16 Sep 2010, MellorSJ wrote:
    "The fact is that the owners of the banks chose to pay their executives certain sums. You may or may not like that, but it's none of your beeswax, is it?"

    Actually it is Sylvia D's beeswax. In fact it is very much every UK taxpayer's beeswax in that it was our money that supported these banks.

  • Comment number 85.

    Really? Incorrect legal advice could see you ending up in court, losing property or in jail. Incorrect computer advice could see you ending up with a computer that doesn't work.

    Errr, no. It could end up with the customer not only having a computer that doesn't work, but a loss of data that could potentailly cost that company hunderds of thousands, if not millions of pounds. All computer professionals should have professional indemnity insurance to guard against such occurances.

    But back to the original question. Pay should be set so that the top earner in a company earns no more than 20 times the amount of the lowest paid worker in that company. That way, if the boss awards himself a hefty pay rise, then all the other workers in that company will have to be given the percentage equivelant to keep the 20 times difference.

  • Comment number 86.

    Bankers are definitely massively overpaid.
    Not one of them had a clue, not one of them had a crumb of real talent.

    Huge egos..but mediocre abilities.

  • Comment number 87.

    In general I would say that engineers and scientists are paid too little. There are constantly reports saying we need more people to do science and engineering, but while the pay is so low even if you convince people to study there is no financial incentive to follow it as a career.

  • Comment number 88.

    Yes. We should set up a Quango to oversee the pay structure - call it the equal pay authority - and pay its chairman a little over £200,000 PA.

  • Comment number 89.

    Of course many people are paid far more than they are worth (especially 'stars' on radio, TV and in sport). Many are paid far less - those in the shops who sell you stuff, those that make the stuff. And many are just plain greedy - bank bosses, corporate bosses - who do nothing to create wealth but siphon masses to themselves.

    One possible solution is to tax at 110% all earnings over a figure - say half a million a year. This rarely works as these rich kids already pay less tax than you or I as they can afford the accountants to run rings around the taxman. Another would be to make it illegal to remunerate in any form anyone in a group of companies more than 10x the lowest paid. I don't care what arguements you put forth no one in a company should be ripping off the others.

  • Comment number 90.

    Equal or inequal pay isn't the problem , the problem is that in public service the highest earners are usually the most incompetent and would be unemployable in the private sector. The private sector has it's fair share of parasites as well of course but most of them are not actually involved in running the businesses. Management salaries in the public sector rarely reflect the value or the competence of the recipients as is clearly demonstrated by the inability of any of the public services to manage their budgets without recourse to demands for more public money.

  • Comment number 91.

    Questions like these are also their own answer, being somewhat rhetorical, as it would be perverse to answer 'No'.

    Like world peace and cures for all diseases, it seems like a laudable goal, but flies in the face of reality - the reality that, for one thing, we are all unique, with unique and varying abilities and inclination. I would never describe myself as hard-working, but would never complain that someone more industrious than me might be paid more.

    Much of the complaining about those who are paid more looks only at gross pay, and not at disposable income. Someone who earns in a day what someone else earns in a week may well pay as much tax in a day what the low earner pays in a month.

    It's clear that, per capita, 'the rich' contribute most to society, and rightly so, but the revolutionaries who would have them all shot or on minimum wage would be the first to complain about the loss of revenue, and thereby, benefits.

    Sadly, we seem to be returning to the 'Us and Them' days of union leading morons declaring war on 'The Rich', without bothering to define who they are. Just who is rich? Someone earning £50,000 a year? £100,000 a year? A pensioner with a million pounds of savings?

    The union morons don't bother to ask why some people earn more, or have more than others, seeming to imply that they have simply been given fistfuls of money by either inheritance or social connections - never considering that they may have worked long and hard for all they have.

    It's also worth noting that the biggest losers in any financial crisis are 'The Rich' - like those with shares in Northern Rock or Bradford and Bingley - but without their investment, many jobs would simply not exist - probably not a major concern to those who'd rather not work at all, but live off the taxes paid by their neighbours.

  • Comment number 92.

    What springs to my my mind when topics like this comes up is the difference in oay for exactly the same job.

    Take for instance a cleaner, who does 'nornal' cleaning work like offices and such. In the private sector you would be on minimum wage with the minimum benefits such as 20 days holiday pro - rata with no or very little sick pay from the company. there is no chance of changing your hours or jobs within the role and largley no recognition for your work.

    If you were a cleaner in the public sector you get much better pay than minimum wage, there is the chance of flexi time or moving to a different role etc. You get sick pay and more holiday entitlement etc than private.

    This happens a lot across unskilled jobs such as receptionists, admin, clerical etc. I think that all cleaners that are doing the same work shoulld be paid the same with the same kind of benefits etc.

    I had a friend who got a permanent job at the council (in admin) and after 4 months she was diagnosed with a blood disorder and was very ill and needed a bone marrow transplant. She was immediately signed on to sick and was off work for 1 year and made a successful recovery. However after only working within the cuncil for 4 months she had recieved full pay every month for a year. Then when she got back she was told she still needed to take her holidays from last year and her bank holiday days as well!

    Would any of us not in a mangerial position in the private sector have any of these benefits after working at a new employer for such a short space of time?

  • Comment number 93.

    Two points occur to me with relation to this debate:

    1) What measure are we using to define someone's income for comparison to the highest paid - are we just using their actual wage or are we adding in the value of all the state support given to lower income individuals which higher earners are having to pay for ? Are we looking at income after all taxes etc are paid ? Taking these things into account would serve to close the gap somewhat I would think (yes, higher wages mean more money in your hand, but perhaps not as much more as a simple comparison of pre-tax wages would suggest). Do we take into account the effect that age and time in service has ? I would hope that my wages will be considerably higher at the end of my employment career than when I first started out.

    2) The usual whines from private sector employees about the public sector - poor old private sector employees are the only ones making all the money for the country, public sector are just parasites living off their taxes. Try running a business in a country with no health service, no education, no roads, no laws etc. - not many sucessful software consultancies or Next shops run out of Somalia these days are there ? Ever wonder why ?

  • Comment number 94.

    First thing is that public sector avaerage pay AND PENSIONS need to be reduced, as a minimum equalised with the private sector and then reduced below it since it is the private sector that creates all the wealth spent by the public sector.
    Next thing is that generally people earning up to about £100k deserve it; that is that a £100k earner in most industry/business/even public sector has a pretty challenging job with quite a lot of responsibility and pressure, and has been promoted several times to get there - there will be exceptions. Problem is that there is then a stratospheric jump to the millions earned by board members of plc companies etc who do very little extra for a whole lot more pay. Footballers are the same at the top, the financial so-called 'whizz kids' ditto. I agree with the thesis that at the top there is a cozy club whose sole aim is to justify each other's huge salaries and especially bonus packages which pay out even for average performance. OUR MD (FT100 company) got huge bonus simply for carrying out his 'personal objectives'; the only thing he did seemed to be to introduce a new travel policy!!

  • Comment number 95.

    The answer to this 'should' is yes, however the answer to 'will' or 'when' is no and never.

    People get paid vastly different wages for the same input of effort depending upon the industry they are in, and perhaps how well that industry is doing.

    And some people get paid the same wage but one person works hard and another is lazy and the manager is not good enough or empowered enough to notice or care.

    How many times have you heard a rich person say 'I worked hard for what I got', what!!!!!, like no-one else works hard, ..it's just that being [eg] a nurse you cannot add a profit margin to each customer.

    On equality, local councils typically employ 80% women but men often get higher wages, but what is right here? the chances of getting a job are statistically 3 to 4 times higher for women [that seems a good option in the current climate] and also the average female wage will fall as the range of jobs undertaken by women is greater.

    Further for councils; It sickens me that people slander these workers, council workers are just an easy target for cowards and bullies. They deserve their pay just for putting up with the 'I pay your wages' morons out there.
    [see posts from iceagecometh1, a good example of the ignorant people council workers have to put up with]

    Dont blame them for dong their job, it was the last government that decided it needed all the unnecessary posts and local councils HAD to comply or be 'investigated'. It's democracy, if you dont like it move to France.

    I was an engineer with a local authority for 20 years, I got so fed up with the 'I pay your wages' crowd that I left, took my skills with me and am now earning 3 times as much in the middle east, and I dont even pay UK tax now I live there.

    There are and will be many, many new jobs in the middle east and Asia, and as more skilled people are drawn [or even work remotely] there the UK will be left with just shop assistants, paper pushers and feral children, so good luck to you all.



  • Comment number 96.

    There should be a wage structure more equal to the job that is being done. How can it be right that a road sweeper gets more than a nurse or care assistant looking after your mother Is an accountant really worth more than the prime minister, or are bankers really worth more in a bonus than most working families earn as a wage in a year, Then you have to think about numbers, how high can we go, in the 50s a house was worth £1500 now the same house is worth £450,000 are we really comfortable with an italian lire monetary system. Its bad enough knowing there is 40 inches in a metre but one thousand millimetres geez where will it end

  • Comment number 97.

    I think before we look at the pay issue, we need to redress the contract terms and conditions. Every employee from the top to the bottom should work under the same basic terms and conditions, what annoys me and a lot of other people is how those at the top talk about justifying their huge wages due to the 'authority and responsibility' the position carries, yet when things go wrong they get preferential treatment.
    For example, if I was to make a mistake that cost the company money, jobs and a dent to it's reputation, I would be shown the door pretty quick for gross incompetence or something similar, no compensation etc. for being sacked, no reference to take for a new job etc. A senior manager does the same, there is an internal investigation to see if they can pin it on someone or something else, if not they are allowed to resign with a golden handshake with a nod and a wink to show nothing will be said to prevent them getting their next high flying job.
    They like the authority and Kudos that goes with their job, but we have seen time and again they are not prepared to take the responsibility that goes with it.

    As for redressing the balance, if those at the top and in senior positions were to take just a 10% drop in their wages and perks, which is then spread out equaly to those at the bottom, it could potentially save the Country millions if not billions in benefit payments, which would lessen the impact of the cuts being made.
    It is also interesting that a report yesterday announced that far from being the poorer relatives, Public sector workers were paid on average £7K per year more in wages, perks and pension rights than equivalent positions in the private sector - I am going to take a stab at the majority of this being at mid-management and above level. Imagine how much of a saving that would be if that were redressed and they were actually paid the same, or how much of an increase the Nurses, Firemen, Police etc. at the sharp end could be given at no extra cost to the public.

  • Comment number 98.

    Somebunchofcolors wrote: "42. At 07:58am on 16 Sep 2010, MellorSJ wrote:
    "The fact is that the owners of the banks chose to pay their executives certain sums. You may or may not like that, but it's none of your beeswax, is it?"

    Actually it is Sylvia D's beeswax. In fact it is very much every UK taxpayer's beeswax in that it was our money that supported these banks."

    To the extent that the taxpayer owns some parts of some banks, that's true. Perhaps she should have a little chat with Lord Mines who let Fred Goodwin(?) retire from RBS at such a huge sum.

    But note that here she is exercising her rights as an OWNER, just like any owner. And if she can be persuaded that huge sums are appropriate, then YOU, colors, cannot gainsay her.

  • Comment number 99.

    I never minded bank executives getting big money but when they turned out to be so money-grabbing and at the same time taking big risks with the investments putting the country in jeopardy they have dishonored themselves.
    I didn't mind MPs getting good money but when the expenses department was doling out money for ridiculous things and the MPs sold out their integrity and grabbed as much as possible I lost respect for them.
    When I get an operation I want the Surgeon to be happy and well paid.
    When I get on a plane I want the Pilot to be happy and well paid.
    There are so many things to be taken into account.
    The cost of living has shot up and lots of people have started out so close to the bread line that now they have to choose between their bills and nice food. Its no use shipping in unskilled labor to do the lowest paying jobs because those people have to eat, rent a place to live, eventually they will want a car and nicer clothing and they will have to get a better paying job or be supplemented by the tax payer. People must earn enough for a basic living in order to make working worthwhile.
    People doing an important, skilled and highly responsible job should get high wages but this doesn't mean to make them a millionaire over and over again.

  • Comment number 100.

    Another item in the news is the continued success of the John Lewis group. Increased sales, higher profits and increase in the number of employees. An organisation where the employees are the shareholders and the chief exec. is well paid within the organisation but on poverty wages compared with many other companies. John Lewis should be doomed to failure if we believe the hype for high pay. I suspect the John Lewis group is an embarrassment to many with their structure and strategy but good luck to them for demonstrating there is another way. Japanese companies also have relatively modest executive pay but seem to be able to use british labour with great success with few if any disputes and produce good products. How and why?

 

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