How the Mayor could tackle high pay

Darren Johnson, Green Party member of the London Assembly, calls on London Mayor Boris Johnson to explore the idea of using public sector spending power to exert some influence on private sector pay.

Darren Johnson AM represents the Green Party in the London Assembly

Boris Johnson is casting around for a new Crossrail chief willing to subsist on around £550,000 a year plus bonuses. If he was genuinely concerned about high pay, looking at the companies he does business with might be a way to bring that huge salary down.

When the London Assembly passed my motion in June last year, calling for high pay to be constrained to no more than twenty times that of the lowest paid and aiming for ten times, the Mayor offered support for the principle.

But when I asked him if he would make good on this support when he recruits the new Crossrail chief executive, he offered the familiar cop-out:

“We will offer a remuneration package commensurate with hiring someone of the required calibre to deliver this vital undertaking.”

The Mayor is happy to talk about tackling top pay, but when push comes to shove he will always compete with the private sector. So why not use public sector spending power to exert some influence on private sector pay?

Crossrail sits within Transport for London, which manages contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Nose around the first release of TfL spending open data and you can find well over £110 million paid out to bus operators; £34m to Eversheds Llp for legal services; more than £8m to Serco for outsourced services including Cycle Hire; and much more. All in the space of one month.

Many of those companies are probably creating the competition for very highly paid managers and executives. Why not use these hugely valuable contracts to try and extract concessions on pay transparency? The “disinfectant of sunlight” could be a small step towards slowing the inflation-busting rise in top pay that the majority, stuck on frozen living standards, can only watch aghast.

I’m asking the Mayor for lots more data on procurement to get a more detailed picture, and I’ll be asking him to explore this idea. At the very least, it would make his professed concern about high pay a little more than lip service.

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23 Responses to “How the Mayor could tackle high pay”

  1. Phil Wass

    RT @leftfootfwd: How the Mayor could tackle high pay: http://bit.ly/gvzn84 by @DarrenJohnsonAM

  2. Darren Johnson

    High pay for new Crossrail boss – how public sector clout could deal with private sector low/high pay http://bit.ly/fVmjrp #fairpay

  3. Lianne

    How the Mayor could tackle high pay http://bit.ly/ig1eHb

  4. The Green Party

    "How the Mayor could tackle high pay" – by @DarrenJohnsonAM on @leftfootfwd – http://bit.ly/gvzn84

  5. Bored London Gurl

    RT @leftfootfwd: How the Mayor could tackle high pay http://bit.ly/gwFSrS << except he won't, because he's a scummy tory

  6. One Society campaign

    @DarrenJohnsonAM advocates public sector requiring its contractors to adopt pay transparency http://tiny.cc/tvkww

  7. Tom Chance (work)

    RT @One_Society: @DarrenJohnsonAM advocates public sector requiring its contractors to adopt pay transparency http://tiny.cc/tvkww

  8. John Symons

    RT @TheGreenParty: "How the Mayor could tackle high pay" – by @DarrenJohnsonAM on @leftfootfwd – http://bit.ly/gvzn84

  9. One Society campaign

    RT @leftfootfwd: How the Mayor could tackle high pay http://bit.ly/gwFSrS

  10. Other TaxPayers Alli

    Yes! RT @One_Society @DarrenJohnsonAM advocates public sector requiring its contractors to adopt pay transparency http://tiny.cc/tvkww

  11. Camden Green Party

    Green Assembly member Darren Johnson on how the mayor could tackle high pay: http://cot.ag/g1iyFn

  12. natalieben

    RT @camdengp: Green Assembly member Darren Johnson on how the mayor could tackle high pay: http://cot.ag/g1iyFn

  13. Greg Sheppard

    RT @TheGreenParty: "How the Mayor could tackle high pay" – by @DarrenJohnsonAM on @leftfootfwd – http://bit.ly/gvzn84

  14. camdenfb

    Green Assembly member Darren Johnson on how the mayor could tackle high pay: http://cot.ag/g1iyFn #fb

  15. FairPensions

    How the mayor could tackle high pay: http://bit.ly/i5mdeJ by @darrenjohnsonam

  16. Sarah Punshon

    RT @camdengp: Green Assembly member Darren Johnson on how the mayor could tackle high pay: http://cot.ag/g1iyFn

  17. Darren Johnson

    Always told that public sector managers need private sector pay grades, so lets change private sector http://bit.ly/fVmjrp #equality

  18. Southwark Greens

    How Boris could tackle high public sector pay http://bit.ly/eITfGI (never mind the bankers…)

  19. Tom Chance

    RT @SouthwarkGP: How Boris could tackle high public sector pay http://bit.ly/eITfGI (never mind the bankers…)

  20. tom chance

    RT @SouthwarkGP: How Boris could tackle high public sector pay http://bit.ly/eITfGI (never mind the bankers…)

  21. Bryonny G-H

    via @leftfootfwd: Darren Johnson on Boris and London high pay http://bit.ly/gwFSrS

  22. Darren Johnson

    Hutton fair pay report. Crossrail shows need to use public sector clout to make private sector adopt fair pay http://bit.ly/fVmjrp

  23. John

    You might want to also raise the fact that TfL managed to spend £8.9m in a month on agency staff

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