A COVENTRY MP has hit out at disproportionate executive pay rises in public and private sector boardrooms across the city amid austerity cuts to jobs and salaries for their workers.
Geoffrey Robinson, Labour MP for Coventry North west, points to executive pay rises at some of the city’s largest employers, from Severn Trent to Warwick University and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire – as NHS workers are set to go strike this Thursday in a pay dispute.
The Coventry Observer last week highlighted Warwick University vice chancellor Nigel Thrift’s latest £16,000 pay rise – his third increase in nine years, which brings his salary to £348,000.
UHCW hospitals’ chief executive Andy Hardy’s salary rose in 2013/4 from £185,000 to £205,000, a 10 per cent increase. The chairman’s salary increased by 41 per cent, when nurses were denied even a one per cent pay rise by the government, despite a recommendation from an independent review body.
Nurses and porters will also work to rule between January 30 and February 24, meaning they will only do their contracted hours, will take their breaks and not do unpaid overtime. A further 24-hour walkout will follow on February 24.
Mr Robinson said: “It’s important to bring scrutiny to the way top end public and private sector salaries, which are already high, continue to surge ahead in times of austerity when low paid workers are subjected to minuscule increases, or in the case of nurses no rise at all.
“Given the restraints on the public sector and lower income workers in the private sector, this is outrageous, and I hope shareholders will bring the management to book. Boardroom greed is rampant, this is scandalous at a time when employees up and down the land are suffering real cuts in their pay and to their services.
“While the pay for the FTSE 100 chief executives has risen by nearly £500,000 since last year, the annual pay of the average UK worker has increased by just £200, from £27,000 to £27,200. These figures demonstrate that the government’s half-hearted effort to curb top pay by giving shareholders the power to veto excessive pay packages has been a complete failure.
“Labour’s plans to make firms publish the ratio of their top earners pay compared to average employees and put worker representatives on remuneration committees would help to tackle this grotesque inequality.”
Mr Robinson also highlighted the salary of the chief executive of Severn Trent, Liv Garfield, which is based in Coventry and recently announced 500 job losses.
Her basic pay last year was reported to be £650,000 a year, 16 per cent higher than her predecessor’s, with bonuses and a 25 per cent pension contribution on top.