Greens call for actions over salary divide

The Scottish Greens are calling for action to tackle the growing inequality in workers’ salaries.

Patrick Harvie. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Research by the party suggests that 43 chief executives of public bodies are earning six figure salaries, though the median salary in Scotland is £26,000.

The chief executive of Scottish Water earned £350,000 to £400,000 in 2011-12, 27 times the salary of a water treatment operator.

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At NHS Lothian the chief executive earned £190,000-£195,000 in 2011-12, which is 13 times what a nursing assistant earns.

Holyrood will debate a motion from the Scottish Green MSPs calling for action on the growing inequality in workers’ pay packets on Wednesday.

The party’s finance spokesman Patrick Harvie said: “If we want a fair and successful society we must close the gap between the highest and lowest incomes.

“Successive governments have allowed our economy to become hollowed out by big business, and have allowed senior salaries to soar ahead while pay for frontline workers is squeezed.

“The recent attempt by RBS to pay bonuses worth 200% of salaries demonstrates the need to shake things up. The Scottish Government should investigate ideas such as maximum wage ratios which would limit the difference between the lowest and highest paid in an organisation.

“We must encourage big employers in the private sector to lift the wages of the lowest paid. Scottish ministers could lead by example and start by publishing the pay ratios of the public bodies they control.”

Other chief executives on high salaries include the boss of Scottish Enterprise Lena Wilson who earned £200,000 - £205,000 in 2011-12 and Barry White, head of the Scottish Futures Trust who was on £185,000 during that period according to figures on the Scottish Government website.