Unite slams ‘City pay culture’ in non-profit organisations

The City pay culture which has seeped into the charity sector must be stopped, a union has warned.

Unite union, which has 60,000 members in the not-for-profit sector, warned that some chief executives in the sector were earning more than the prime minister’s salary of £197,000.

The union warned that while executive pay was increasing by 6% annually, many charity workers struggled on low wages, often just above the national minimum wage of £5.80 an hour.

Unite called for a High Pay Commission to be set up to prevent the “greed culture” spreading across the economy.

The union revealed Anchor Trust’s chief executive, John Belcher, was paid £391,000 in 2008/09, while Riverside Housing Group’s highest paid director received £231,000.

The chief executive officer of the UK Film Council received between £205,000 and £210,000 in 2008, and in 2009 The National Trust paid between £160,000 and £169,999 to a top member of staff.

Rachael Maskell, Unite national officer for the not-for-profit sector, said: “It is quite clear that the insidious City culture of excessive pay is seeping into the packages of some not-for-profit sector chief executives.

“This is to be deplored as it corrupts the ethos of the voluntary sector and is an insult to those, often on average incomes, who donate to charity.

“It has also contributed to great and unfair disparities between the pay of the chief executives and top directors, and other members of staff, as this is being replicated across other sectors of society.

Maskell called for flat pay rates to be introduced rather than percentage rises.

She said: “Flat pay increases of a set amount should be introduced, instead of percentage rises, as this would reduce pay disparities, which are hitting, in particular, women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and part-time workers.”

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