THE bosses of Scotland’s biggest private firms are earning salaries 24 times those of the average worker, according to new figures.
Chief Executive pay now averages over £550,000 a year while the average worker gets just short of £23,000.
And the boss of Royal Bank of Scotland, Ross McEwan, gets £3.5m a year – 152 times average pay – despite losses of £7bn last year.
The figures, produced by research by a daily newspaper, have been described as a “monument to greed” by unions.
The UK government has announced a new law which requires listed companies to reveal and justify the difference in pay between top bosses and average workers.
The research looked at 39 of the biggest firms in Scotland and established average CEO pays was £556,000 in the last financial year.
According to the Office of National Statistics, average pay in Scotland is £22,918.
Among other big earners are Alistair Phillips-Davies, head of energy firm SSE, who last year received a pay hike of 72.5%, giving him a salary of £2.9m.
His salary of £844,000 was topped up by a £910,000 bonus, a £644,000 performance share plan award, £502,000 in pension contributions and £25,000 in other benefits.
Newly merged Standard Life Aberdeen paid their joint chief executives Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch £2.8 million and £2.75 million respectively.
A total of 10 CEOs took home packages worth seven figures – CYBG’s David Duffy, Aggreko’s Chris Weston, Stagecoach’s Martin Griffiths, First Group’s Tim O’Toole and Wood Group’s Robin Weston.
Only three earned less than £100,000 while Peter Lawwell of Celtic FC narrowly missed out on the top 10 with a salary of £999,000.
Unite leader Pat Rafferty said: “The executive pay packets are an insult to the poor in Scotland and a monument to greed.
“The problem with the Tories is that they think the rich don’t have enough money and the poor have too much.
“We live in a divided Scotland where 10 chief executives become millionaires every year while tens of thousands live on poverty wages on zero-hour conracts.”
Hugh Aitken, CBI Scotland Director, said: “Good corporate governance is an essential ingredient of business performance and the bedrock of trust between business and society.
“We know that how companies act and behave determines the way people think about business.
“Companies take this seriously and look forward to working closely with the Government to ensure the UK maintains its reputation as a global leader in this field and as a primary location for international investment.
“The CBI is very clear that the unacceptable behaviour of a few firms does not reflect the high standards and responsible behaviour of the vast majority of companies.
“If pay ratios include meaningful context they could prove a useful addition to the debate about executive pay.”
A spokesman for SSE said: “We recognise executives are paid substantial sums in line with their responsibilities, but at SSE executive remuneration is strongly linked to performance and length of service and the company has been and always will be disciplined in its approach to pay. We would encourage people to read the Remuneration Report on page 80 of our Annual Report in full.”
A spokesman for RBS said: “We will not be commenting on the story.”