Pat Rafferty, Scottish Secretary of the union Unite Scotland, writes:
Picture a wedding reception with a 100 guests The hotel staff wheel out the wedding cake. It is set out in 4 equally sized tiers. Suddenly 10 of the guests step forward and without any hesitation devour two of the four tiers, leaving only two for the other 90 guests. You might say this could never happen but it is exactly what’s going on across Britain, where the richest 10 per cent hold 45 per cent of the wealth in the country. The Herald investigation about the pay of Scotland’s top chief executives revealed a divided Scotland – a Scotland where the chief executive of RBS has a top line on his pay packet of £65,000 a week and a 20 year old shop worker on the minimum wage of £5.60 an hour gets £225 a week before tax. That’s an inequality ratio of almost 300-1.
The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland had at his a top line £3.5m a year. RBS is currently running a massive advertising campaign to explain that it is not the Royal Bank "of" Scotland but the Royal Bank "for" Scotland. It’s actually the Royal Bank "for" its senior executives. And before we hear the howls of indignation from the ‘deserving rich’ we say simply there is no way those at the top of big companies who award themselves countless millions deserve it. There is nothing you can do that justifies a salary of £3.5m.
Danny Dorling points out in “The Equality Effect” that the UK now has a greater inequality ratio than Africa’s Burkina Faso and the USA is more unequal than Uganda.
Those on zero hours contracts and rock-bottom wages, families dependent on food banks can’t wait for some future fiscal salvation from tax reform. Enter Unite Scotland. Building the trade union movement is the answer for the here and now. Where the union is strong decent wage rates replace poverty pay.