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From: The Socialist issue 649, 1 December 2010: Young people lead fight against cuts

Search site for keywords: Bankers - Bonuses - Banks - George Osborne

Bankers: The new untouchables?

THE BANKERS' astronomical pay just won't go away, however much the Con-Dems wish it would. George Osborne asked the banks (nicely) to tell him how many of their staff earned over 1 million a year (remember: the UK average wage is 26,000). They squirmed and said no - it might increase pay demands (!), lead to competitive disadvantage etc, etc.

Paul Gerrard

According to the Times business editor: "The Chancellor appears to have swallowed the banks' line. Or perhaps he wants to bury the evidence that all efforts to curb bonuses have had little effect." British banks' half-hearted attempts to agree to rein in bonuses were scuppered by Standard Chartered's decision to pull out of the negotiations.

The banks are embarrassed. Investment arms of Barclays and RBS haven't done that well this year (all together now: A-a-a-a-h!). Barclays Capital has actually taken more staff on this year - 2,300 to be precise - so their overall bonus tally might be even bigger than last year! By the way, does this mean a new investment bubble is under way?

The final straw was Standard Chartered. George Osborne was trying to restrict bonuses to one-year deals only. Standard Chartered is considering leaving the UK anyway for sunnier climes like Hong Kong and Singapore where multi-year bonuses are typical for 'star' bankers, so it abandoned negotiations.

The Con-Dem government desperately want a face-saver so they can show 'we're all in it together'. But the bankers won't help the government off the hook and the government won't dare lay a finger on the bankers - the new untouchables.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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