The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with anger the report that in 2010 the median pay of executive directors of the top 40 JSE-listed companies increased by 23.3%, to R4.8 million.
Short-term ‘incentives' to executive directors, which include all cash-based payments paid to an individual based on company and individual performance, rose even faster in these top 40 companies, by 57.5%, to R3.8-million.
Many of these executives will no doubt be joining the chorus condemning the ‘excessive' and ‘unaffordable' 13% wage increases being demanded by NUMSA, CEPPWAWU and others. They never stop to consider that it is the labour of these workers that creates the wealth from which their R4.8 million salaries and R3.8 million bonuses comes from!
South Africa had already achieved the distinction of being the most unequal society in the world. These latest increases at the highest levels have widened the gap still further. They make the unions' demands seem even more modest and reasonable.
This report, by PwC Southern Africa, illustrates why COSATU has relaunched its living wage campaign and why we are fully behind the workers currently on strike.
The Naledi Research Paper on the Living Wage, presented to the COSATU Central Committee in June, spells out the reality. The top 10% of earners receive around 94 times more than the bottom 10%. The poorest 10% share R1.1 billion between them while the richest 10% share R381 billion, 51% of the total.