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By Jeremy Dear, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists

Last year, Richard Desmond, the proprietor of Express Newspapers announced he was paying himself a chairman’s remuneration of some £52m - the equivalent of £1m a week.

It hardly raised an eyebrow. 

Although hefty by historical standards, it was not by contemporary ones. Just a few months earlier Lakshmi Mittal had paid himself a record £1.1bn dividend. At the time it was the highest private dividend on record. But that record did not last for long as high street retailer Philip Green topped it with a dividend of £1.2bn from his Arcadia Group – the equivalent of the annual pay of 54,000 people on average earnings.