Why Income Equality at work is better for everyone
This conference notes the gross inequality in pay at many Housing Associations. “Inside Housing” reports that 58 Chief Executives earn more than the Prime Minster, while the highest earner, Jane Ashcroft of Anchor (established in 1968 by “Help the Aged”) received £331,250 - up 14 per cent on last year.
At the same time many workers in the sector existed on the minimum wage rate of just £5.93 per hour. This means that the most highly paid Executive got £26,605 per month while many of the lowest paid got just £949. This is nearly 30 times more.
The book “The Spirit Level” by research scientists Professors Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett demonstrate that excessive income inequality in society results in premature death, greater levels of mental illness, drug abuse, poor education attainment, imprisonment, violence and obesity. Societies that are more equal such as Sweden and Japan are more successful for everyone in all measurable ways. Both the rich and the poor benefit. This conference believes:-
That Housing Associations should recognise that internal income inequality is as bad for its workers and residents as it is for the wider society. It is corrosive, divisive and destructive. Profiteering for the few threatens the raison d’être for the entire sector. It results in poor staff morale and industrial relations, mistrust from residents and a reputational political risk to the whole sector.
If Housing Associations believe that they need to reduce their cost base to compete for contracts they should firstly cut the pay of their Senior Management Team.
We support the recommendations of the Hutton report on Fair Pay that “every public body should annually publish the multiple of top to median pay in a clear and presentable way” and that employee representatives should be on the Executive Remuneration Committees.
Every single worker whether directly employed or subcontracted should receive at least a Regional living wage rate. This conference calls on:-
Our Service Group Executive to campaign for greater Income Equality, using the press and media, working with the National Housing Federation if possible, and lobbying Government.
The Service Group Executive to explore affiliating to the Equality Trust
To request Labour Link campaigns for statutory regulation of pay multiples in Housing Association’s, increased public spending to combat poverty and fair progressive levels of income taxation.