By Andrew Holt

The excessive City pay culture is seeping into the remuneration packages of charity bosses and should be curbed, Unite, the largest union in the country, has warned.

Unite, which has 60,000 members in the not for profit sector, is concerned that some chief executives are earning more than the Prime Minister's annual salary of £197,000.

And while chief executive pay soars at a rate of 6% a year, many charity workers are struggling with wages just above the National Minimum Wage (NMW) of £5.80 an hour.

Unite is calling for charities to look closely at the rates of pay of all their employees and to iron out inequalities.

Unite favours flat pay increases for everyone, rather than percentage rises, as this would benefit the lower paid.

Unite is concerned that the growing pay inequalities are a symptom of a 'greed culture' across the economy, and would like the proposal for a High Pay Commission to be set up quickly to radically tackle this trend, which is leading to fissures in society.

Unite highlighted the pay of Anchor Trust's Chief Executive, John Belcher, whose pay was £391,000 in 2008/09, while many of his employees, running homes for the elderly, are living on wages just above the NMW. Mr Belcher resigned from his post last week.

Other examples of 'excess' include:

• Riverside Housing Group's highest paid director received (emoluments excluding pension contributions) £231,000 in 2008
• UK Film Council's Chief Executive Officer received between £205,000 and £210,000 in 2008
• The National Trust in 2009 paid between £160,000 and £169,999 to a top member of staff
• In 2008, Age Concern paid a senior staff member between £100,001 and £120,000
• The RSPB in 2008 rewarded a staff member with emoluments between £100,001 and £110,000.

Rachael Maskell, Unite National Officer, 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. I think the general public will be shocked by the scale of the packages that some executives are being awarded. This sector is losing its sense of what real value is.

'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.

'It is not right that a charity boss earns much more than the Prime Minister. Flat pay increases of a set amount should be introduced, instead of percentage rises, as this would reduce pay disparities, which is hitting, in particular, women, disabled people, ethnic minorities and part-time workers.'

Maskell made clear that Unite's fire was directed at the excessive pay packages and not at the majority of charities whose chief executives earn on average £57,000 annually, while those running small charities take home a modest £33,000 a year.

Home     More News

Other stories you may find of interest:

Sector expresses disappointment at 2012 Budget
After last year’s positive Budget for charities, the sector has expressed deep disappointment at the Chancellor George Osborne's 2012 Budget. The CFG described it as a budget for business, CAF warned tax changes could strangle major donations, the Charity Tax Group said it was very concerned about some of the Budget announcements, law firm Withers warned that the Budget could be a significant attack on charity funding, NCVO said this is not “George’s Marvellous Medicine” for the charity sector, NAVCA has warned the budget should have gone further, ACEVO is worried by the cap on tax reliefs, Citizens Advice Scotland has said there is nothing in the Budget to help people struggling and Justice for All said the budget revealed there is no long term plan for the advice sector.

David Cameron: Leadership for a better Britain
David Cameron put the Big Society at the heart of his keynote conference speech yesterday, stating: "My driving mission in politics is to build a Big Society, a stronger society." He said: "It starts with families. I want to make this the most family-friendly government the country has ever seen. More childcare. More health visitors. More relationship support. More help with parenting. And for the 120,000 families that are most troubled - and causing the most trouble - a commitment to turn their lives around by the end of this Parliament."

Dilnot Fairer Care Funding report: the sector verdict
The Commission on Funding of Care and Support has presented its findings to the Government in its report Fairer Care Funding, and the sector has generally welcomed the report, albeit with many qualifications. The independent commission, set up by the Government last July, was asked to recommend a fair and sustainable funding system for adult social care in England.

Has your investment manager downgraded your service?

February-March 2014: Trustees & CEO Pay

Trustees came under the spotlight last year because of their reluctance to defend
the salaries of their chief executives. The sector has since offered trustees opportunities to learn from the experience. It is an opportunity they must take, argues Andrew Holt

December/January 2013-14: Impact Leadership

Tris Lumley takes the reader on an in-depth journey analysing impact
leadership, arguing that impact starts with leadership

August/September 2013 Cover Story: Revisiting the Big Society

Andrew Holt searches through the maze that is the Big Society for meaning

June/July 2013 Cover Story: Testing times, big opportunities

Contrasting sector evidence suggests the fundraising environment is tougher than it has ever been while other data suggests it is indeed tough but equally ripe with opportunity. Hugh Wilson unravels the debate

This website is a part of Perspective Publishing Limited, registered in England No 2876166.
By using this website you agree to our COOKIE POLICY and PRIVACY POLICY.