The UK banks, and Barclays in particular, seem to live on another planet. On the day they announce that between 10,000 and 12,000 jobs are to be cut, 7,000 of which are in the UK, they also trumpet the fact that they have increased their investment bank’s bonus pool by 10%.
Chief executive, Antony Jenkins, who to his credit has waived his own annual bonus, said that the bank “Had to be competitive on pay and had to pay for performance”. All this coming in the light of a 37% slump in pre-tax profits from the investment banking division. It begs the question, “What exactly are they paying bonuses for?”
Whilst we are all still holding our breath and hoping that the apparent ‘green shoots of recovery’ in the economy in general continue, it beggars belief to hear that the already obscenely overpaid investment bankers are going to get yet more in the way of undeserved bonuses. If they can’t ‘make do’ with the crazy amounts they get paid already, let them go, and get someone who will earn their bonus step in and take over the role.
Credit to Robert Peston, the BBC business editor, who seems to have summed up the gobsmacking incredulity felt by the general public, saying “There is blank incomprehension from those not in the industry that the going rate remains so high for people widely seen as being more than walk-ons in the epic near-destruction of global financial capitalism just a short while ago”
I think it is high time we as citizens, demanded a higher moral code from all the public bodies with whom we have to deal. Whether it is the banks, the utility companies, the government agencies, such as environment at this time, or the police and judiciary, we must demand to be treated fairly.
Those who have seen their salaries frozen or cut and those who have lost their jobs because of the cut-backs have made the greatest sacrifices. The government keeps telling us that we are all in this economic downturn together, but it most certainly doesn’t feel like it from where I stand.
Tax cuts for the rich, increased bonuses for the very people who got us into all this mess, coupled to further draconian cuts in social welfare for the poorest, weakest and most needy, where is the togetherness in all that?