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31 October 1998

Minimum wage/maximum hypocrisy - Double standards of CBI fat cat bosses
On the eve of the CBI's annual conference which starts tomorrow in Birmingham, Labour Research magazine exposes the employers' federation's double standards over the minimum wage.

In its evidence to the Low Pay Commission, the CBI argued for a national minimum wage of around ?3.10 to ?3.20 an hour. The decision, in principle, to set the rate at ?3.60 an hour for workers aged 22 and over from next April was, said the CBI, "towards the higher end of what is acceptable to business."

However, a breakdown of the earnings of 65 leading CBI members reveals that they consider themselves to be worth a great deal more than this. Labour Research has calculated the hourly pay of the CBI president and those members of the CBI president's committee and council members who work for the publicly-quoted companies cited on CBI lists. This reveals that the highest hourly-paid member of the CBI was the new president himself - Sir Clive Thompson. He earns ?466.34 an hour at Rentokil Initial - almost 130 times the minimum wage which will apply to the UK's lowest-paid workers.

The top five hourly earners on the president's committee are: * Sir Peter Bonfield, chief executive of British Telecom, who earns ?352.88 an hour (98 times the proposed minimum wage); * Sir John Browne, chief executive of British Petroleum, on ?300.70 an hour (83.5 times the minimum wage); * Niall Fitzgerald, chair of Unilever, who earns ?299.77 an hour (83.2 times the minimum wage); * Lord Simpson, managing director of GEC, who gets ?289.74 an hour (80.5 times the minimum wage); and * Lord Blyth, deputy chair and chief executive of Boots, earning ?279.17 an hour (77.5 times the minimum wage).

Notes to editors

Full details of the hourly earnings of 65 leading CBI members is published in the November 1998 issue of Labour Research. The price of a single copy is ?2.70 (?3 including postage).
The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 86 years ago. More than 2,000 trade union organisations, including 54 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership are affiliated.
For more details contact Neal Moister on 0171 902 9818.

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