BBC | 26.11.2002 21:05
New figures have highlighted the yawning gulf between executives at Britain's top companies and those at the bottom of the income scale.
In fact, research by the Transport and General Workers (T&G) union shows that the ten best paid executives of FTSE 100 companies took home 600 times more than low earners.
The T&G union has accused company executives of being out of touch and of double standards by calling for wage restraint among employees.
The study, conducted for the T&G by Labour Research, shows that the top ten earners in the FTSE 100 earned an average of £6.3m each.
On the other hand, full-time employees in the UK's worst paid jobs only managed on average just over £10,000 each.
The three worst paid jobs in the UK - waitress, kitchen porters and bar staff - pay employees on average £9,048 to £9,763 a year.
At the other end of the scale, Britain's best paid executive Ken Berry of EMI earns more than £10m.
Bill Morris. the union's general secretary, condemned the: "excessive pay gap which shows that Britain's boardrooms are out of touch with reality on pay."
In addition, Mr Morris used the figures to launch a broadside at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has called for public sector pay restraint at its annual conference.
"How can the CBI criticise pay demands of the low paid workers when they are earning such extreme figures?" Mr Morris asked.
At the CBI conference, Hewlett-Packard boss Carly Fiorina defended her $1m pay package, but warned that business must regain the trust of the public following the series of corporate scandals in the US, and said executive pay must be based on performance.
Recently, the board of GlaxoSmithKline clashed with one of the people on the list, Jean-Pierre Garnier, over his demands for a further pay increase, despite the fall in the company's profits and share price.
UK's best paid executives
Ken Berr EMI £10,076,225
Bart Becht Reckitt Benckiser £9,200,733
Tony Ball BSkyB £8,324,623
Jean-Piere Garnier GlaxoSmithKline £7,307,262
Lord Browne BP £5,809,829
Source: T & G
Britain's poorest paid jobs
Women kitchen porters £9,545
Women Bar staff £9,763
Women launderers £10,195
Source: T & G