07 June 2017
UK workers will suffer the worst fall in real wages among all advanced economies next year, TUC analysis of today’s OECD figures shows.
While all other OECD members (bar Italy and Mexico) gear up for real wage increases of an average 1.1% in 2018, British workers will be hit by a decline of 1.1%.
The news comes just 24 hours before the UK votes in the General Election and squeezed incomes will no doubt be a key issue in the minds of the electorate.
“Boosting wages has to be a top priority for whoever gets the keys to Downing Street,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said.
“British workers still haven’t recovered from the last financial crisis. The last thing they can afford is another hit on their finances,” she added.
Indeed, TUC research has shown that real wages remain lower than they were before the recession, with the average worker seeing a fall of £1,200 a year compared with 2008.
The three main parties have all campaigned on a platform promising better wages for workers. The Labour Party has gone the furthest in its pledges, promising both the restoration of sectoral collective bargaining and a raise in the statutory minimum wage to match a genuine living wage (expected to reach £10 per hour by 2020).
Through sectoral collective bargaining, unions will negotiate with employers at industry level to build upon this national minimum throughout their sector. Our employment law experts John Hendy QC and Professor Keith Ewing explain how the process works here.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have fallen short of promising to roll out the Living Wage for all workers, suggesting a review into its implementation instead; and the Tories have said they will not roll out the Real Living Wage at all, preferring instead their “National Living Wage”, which is not calculated according to how much workers need to cover their living costs (as the Real Living Wage is), but is actually closer to a rebranding of the National Minimum Wage. Under the Conservative Party’s plan, workers would only receive £8.75 by 2020.