The minimum wage would be an incredible £12.74 per hour if workers pay had kept pace with boardroom salaries a leading trade union has revealed.
New Year’s Day is the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the minimum wage in the UK, but the GMB union says it has failed to keep pace with the fat cat bosses pay.
Their analysis concludes that chief executive pay as risen by more than 350 per cent in 20 years and if the minimum wage had increased by the same it would equate to £26,000 a year on a 40 hour week.
Instead it is worth £14,664 per year.
Currently the minimum is £7.50 per hour for those aged 25 or over. 20 years ago it was £3.60 per hour for over 21s.
But over the same period the average paid to chief executives of the top 100 companies, the FTSE 100, has risen from £1.23 million to £4.35 million according to the High Pay centre. A rise of 354 per cent.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “The national minimum wage was a hugely important step for working people in this country - and its anniversary should be a cause for celebration of how far we’ve come.
“But this twentieth birthday risks being marred by the growing pay gap between workers and company bosses. As our investigation shows – the rich have pulled right ahead from the rest, to an extent that is frankly sickening.
“GMB supports a national minimum wage of at least £10 an hour – which is a modest call for the many when compared to the pay increases enjoyed by the few - a position backed by Labour’s manifesto.
“A decent wage for all would bring significant returns back into our economy as money circulates through the economy.”
Stefan Stern, director of the High Pay Centre, added: “It’s striking that the national minimum wage came in just as executive pay really started to spiral up and out of control.
“The pay gap has grown ever since, with terrible consequences.
“There are two ways to close this unacceptable and unjustifiable gap: one is to have more restraint at the top, and the other is to have the long overdue pay-rise that lower paid workers deserve.
“We need rapid progress at both ends of the income scale.”
The High Pay Centre has also revealed that Thursday, January 4 is the day by which the average FTSE 100 chief executive has earned the same as the average UK worker in a year.