Who is the world’s worst boss? You tell us…


International Workers Day on 1 May celebrates the power of working people – the greatest democratic power on the planet.

Yet, workers everywhere face many challenges, including growing wage disparity.

As the salaries of the highest paid CEOs continue to soar, under and unemployment continues to drive inequality.

It’s a deplorable situation and workers everywhere have had enough – which is why the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is asking you to vote for the “worst boss in the world”.

Our new poll names and shames nine CEOs whose greed is matched only by their indifference to the plight of their employees.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of those in our rogue’s gallery are from Corporate America.

In 2013, for example, median CEO pay in the United States increased by an average of 9 per cent to US$13.9 million.

The CEO-to-worker pay ratio was 331:1 – up from less than 50:1 in 1983.

Had the US minimum wage in 1968 grown at the same rate as the wages of the top one per cent of income earners in America, it would stand today at US$31.45 an hour. Instead, private sector workers earn as little as US$7.25 an hour.

Earlier this month, in the same week as the New York Times unveiled America’s highest paid CEOs, the country’s largest labour federation, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), launched paywatch.org, a comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of top US CEOs.

It offers visitors to the website the ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives.

The startling statistics include the fact that an employee working full-time on the minimum wage would have to work for 580 hours to earn the same as what T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere earns in one hour.

T-Mobile is the subject of a global campaign, after the company sought to block employees from joining a union.

This involved management conducting one-on-one interrogations in the basement of a New York store to spread misinformation about the consequences of union membership.


Worst CEOs

So who are these world’s worst bosses?

There’s Douglas McMillon, the Wal-Mart CEO who earned US$9.5 million last year while company workers were asked to contribute to a food drive for needy co-workers because they are not paid a decent living wage.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth is estimated at US$27.2 billion. A notoriously stingy boss, Bezos presides over a company in which overworked and underpaid staff at distribution centres are forced to wear tags that monitor their every move.

Unions are banned and, in one infamous case, paramedics realised it was more efficient to just wait outside the Amazon warehouse where staff members were fainting due to the soaring temperatures.

Also on the list is Charles Koch, CEO of Koch Industries. With an estimated net worth at US$ 40 billion, Charles and his brother David have used their wealth for political ends, most notably in their provision of large funding for the right-wing Tea Party movement. Former US Labour Secretary Robert Reich has launched a petition to expose the Koch brothers, denouncing theirs actions to undermine and corrupt democracy.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was paid US$23 million in 2013. As the highest-paid bank chief, he is the only banker on the list.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., has used his media empire to interfere with democracy, earning his place as one of the worst bosses in the world.

But the United States isn’t the only country to make the all-male shortlist.

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker blamed unions for global unemployment during the great recession instead of his banking buddies.

Mining giant Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore Xstrata, is ripping the heart out of communities across the world. The notoriously mean CEO avoids taxes, and strips away jobs wherever he can.

Lee Kun-Hee, Chairman of Samsung Group received a three year prison sentence for tax evasion and embezzlement but has retained his job at Samsung.

The Great Recession has led to a global slump in wages and growing inequality. Employers have used the economic crisis and the global threat on jobs as an excuse to step up their anti-union attacks.

The export of the American corporate model, represented by the American Chamber of Commerce, is driving this exploitative model of profit at any cost – and it must be stopped.

The ITUC will continue to name and shame the worst bosses in the world, but make sure your voice is heard by participating in our poll.

The winner of the Worst Boss in the World will be announced at the 3rd ITUC World Congress in Berlin from 18-23 May 2014.


Vote for the Worst Boss in the World here: