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New Delhi, May 1 – Top CEOs globally, including India, received a real-term 9 per cent pay rise in 2022, while workers worldwide took a 3 per cent pay cut during the same period, a report showed on Monday.
Around 150 of the top-paid executives in India received $1 million on average last year, a real-term pay rise of 2 per cent since 2021.
A single Indian executive makes in just four hours more than an average worker earns in a year.
Employees on average worked six days “for free” last year because their wages lagged behind inflation — while real pay for top executives in India, the UK, the US and South Africa jumped 9 per cent (16 per cent if not adjusted for inflation), reveals new analysis from Oxfam released on the International Workers’ Day.
One billion workers in 50 countries took an average pay cut of $685 in 2022, a collective loss of $746 billion in real wages, compared to if wages had kept up with inflation.
According to the report, women and girls are putting in at least 380 billion hours of unpaid care work every month.
Women workers often have to work reduced paid hours or drop out of the workforce altogether because of their unpaid care workload. They also continue to face gender-based discrimination, harassment, and less pay for work of equal value as men, the findings showed.
“While corporate bosses are telling us we need to keep wages down, they’re giving themselves and their shareholders massive payouts. Most people are working longer for less and can’t keep up with the cost of living,” said Amitabh Behar, Oxfam International’s interim Executive Director.
Years of austerity and attacks on trade unions have widened the gap between the richest and the rest of people.
“The only rise workers have seen is that of unpaid care work, with women shouldering the responsibility,” Behar said. “This incredibly hard and valuable work is done for free at home and in the community.”
Shareholder dividends meanwhile hit a record $1.56 trillion in 2022, a 10 per cent real-term growth compared to 2021.
“Workers are tired of being treated like sacrificial lambs every time a crisis hits. Neoliberal logic blames inflation on everyone except profiteering corporations,” said Behar.
Governments should stop relying only on interest rate hikes and austerity that we know hurts ordinary people, particularly those living in poverty.
Instead, they should introduce top rates of tax of at least 75 per cent on super-rich corporate bosses to discourage sky-high executive pay, and windfall taxes on excessive corporate profits, he mentioned.