Friday, May 12, 2006

Minimum wage: too high for the bosses' liking

Today's Financial Times, page one:

'Boom in commodities sends the price of a top trader soaring ... Experienced traders are now commanding seven-figure sign-on fees and bonuses to match. Industry executives said senior energy traders were receiving sign-on fees of more than $2m (£804,000) in some cases.'

Today's Financial Times, page three:

'Business leaders fear minimum wage has reached tipping point ... Increases in the minimum wage ahead of average earnings have provoked deepening discontent among business leaders, who say it is having an effect further up the income scale.

'"That is why it is so important that the Low Pay Commission, in confirming the October rise, said there should be no presumption that the minimum wage should rise faster in future," said John Cridland [deputy director-general of the Confederation of British Industry and a commission member]. "The commission has recognised that employers are getting quite close to the buffers."'

Point of information: The minimum wage is currently £5.05 an hour, rising to £5.35 an hour in October. That's £187.25 for a 35-hour week, before tax.

Or to put it another way, anybody on that kind of 'reward package' would take 82 years - more than a working lifetime - to earn what an energy trader makes simply for switching jobs.



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