Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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UK workers have ‘suffered one of the worst pay squeezes in the world’

Working people in the UK have “suffered one of the worst pay squeezes in the world”, with the UK near the bottom of the global rankings for real wage growth, according to new analysis by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC’s analysis, based on figures issued by the International Labour Organisation alongside their Global Wage Report 2016/15, found the UK ranks 103 out of 112 countries for pay growth since the financial crisis.

Both the Office for Budgetary Responsibility and the Bank of England have predicted that real wages will continue to fall, with the TUC warning the falling pound and higher prices threatens another living standards crisis.

According to the TUC, UK workers have experienced the sharpest fall in real wages of any OECD country with the exception of Greece, and their latest research ranks the UK below countries including Nicaragua, Jordan, and Tunisia for real wage growth between 2008-2015.

Topping the table is Tajikistan with a wage growth of 14.4% between 2008-2015, closely followed by Zambia (12.1%), Cambodia (10.4%), and Mongolia (9.7%). China is the richest country to make it into the top five, with a real wage growth of exactly 9%. Greece, Jamaica and and Sri Lanka and all in the bottom three.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “UK workers suffered one of the worst pay squeezes in in the world after the financial crash. And with food prices and household bills shooting up again, another living standards crisis is a real danger.

“Next month’s budget must have a clear plan for helping hard-pressed families – millions are still worse off than before the crash.

“The Chancellor should end the pay restrictions on nurses, teachers and other key workers that are making them thousands of pounds poorer.

“And if we are to build a high wage economy we need stronger action to raise pay in low-pay, low-productivity sectors – and that means giving those workers stronger rights to collective pay bargaining.”

Figures seen by Welfare Weekly suggest average wages are on the decline, despite record employment levels, adding to speculation of a fresh squeeze on living standards in the wake of the EU referendum.

The figures, not due to be released until Tuesday, are also expected to show the UK labour market is weakening, with the number of advertised job vacancies falling to the lowest level since the beginning of the year.

In the meantime, average house prices increased by 7.2% in the year leading up to December 2016, making it even more difficult for first-time buyers to get a foot on the housing ladder and exacerbating the growing housing crisis.

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