24/10/2009 - No excuses on pay

SOLIDARITY PRESIDENT Adam Walker has called for employers not to use the recession as an excuse to freeze pay. 

“We have recently highlighted two industrial disputes where workers have been given a derisory pay offer or a 0 per cent pay offer” he said.
Here, Mr. Walker pointed the finger of blame at the First Group – a massive transnational transport company – and Capita, ‘the UK’s leading outsourcing company’. Despite the recession, both companies are making money – and plenty of it.
As we noted in our News Article – Solidarity supports Scottish finance workers - on 11th October, Capita had offered it workers a derisory pay increase of 1.5 per cent. Staff at Capita’s Glasgow operations rightly staged a two day strike on 23rd and 24th of September to protest against this.
Mr. Walker said: “compare the 1.5 per cent offer made to the workers to that of Capita’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Pindar. He has to get by on a measly salary package worth £9.8 million. 
Capita are not exactly short of money - operating profit increased 18 per cent to £320m last year.  And its dividend payment to shareholders went up by 20 per cent”. 
He also again highlighted the case of the First Group.

“They have offered a 0 per cent pay offer. They are not even going to pay a cost of living increase. That’s absolutely outrageous”.
Solidarity has already looked at the First Group in two recent News Articles – Strike on First Buses? of 10th October and National Bus strike looms of 11th October. 
They too are still making plenty of money. Indeed, Solidarity General Secretary Patrick Harrington recently pointed out that:
“First Group PLC made £200m profit before tax in March of this year.  It also appears that there’s been a 15 per cent bonanza for shareholders for each of the last five years. 
Adam Walker went on to demand that shareholders and bosses recognise the importance of their work force. 
“Despite the recession, shareholders and bosses have been getting fantastic bonus payments. 
At the same time, workers are getting very little – or nothing at all. Workers are important element in any concern. They too should be rewarded”. 
He said that there should always be wage increases for workers whilst a business in profit.
“At the very least these increases should be at the rate of inflation”.