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Monday 23rd January 2012 | 16:17
Vince Cable's announcement today that he intends to tighten up controls on boardroom pay should have included a legally-binding proposal to have an employee representative on the remuneration committees.
Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey said: 'If Business Secretary, Vince Cable was really serious about tackling the boardroom abuses, he should have included the legal requirement for an employee representative on the remuneration committees as part of his proposals. Instead, he spoke vaguely about boardroom 'diversity'.'
'An employee representative on the board by law would have sent a clear message to the millions of working people, who have seen their living standards slashed by the coalition's callous austerity programme, that ministers are serious about their 'We are all in this together' mantra.'
Len McCluskey said that the coalition, that had been in power for nearly two years, had been 'dragged kicking and screaming' to this point - and that much more needed to be done to stop boardroom abuses that had seen directors of FTSE 100 companies receiving 49 per cent pay rises.
Len McCluskey said: 'The key to this problem is the 'you scratch my back' remuneration committees made up of the same old clique of corporate high-rollers - the mandatory introduction of employee representatives would have diluted this 'old boy' network.'
'It is a disgrace that Unilever's CEO earns 285 times that of his average staff. Yet, a whole swathe of middle earners are facing an income drop for the next eight years, according to the Resolution Foundation.'
'Ministers trot out the concept of 'shareholder power' - but this is mere lip service when so many shareholders are institutions or are based overseas.'
'Vince Cable has made a start on tackling the problem of excessive pay, but he needs to go much further and much faster.'
In its evidence to the High Pay Commission, Unite had said that there should be employee representation on the remuneration committees as a mechanism to curb bosses' pay, which is out of all proportion to average pay of about £25,900-a-year.
Last year, a survey by Income Data Services (IDS) revealed that directors of FTSE 100 companies had received a 49 per cent pay rise in the previous 12 months.
At the time, Unite described as the IDS report as 'damning' and showed just how much these 'pampered' directors were removed from the lives of working people.