24 January 2018
Real wages continued to fall in 2017, according to Office for National Statistics data for the three months between September and November announced today.
Average weekly earnings adjusted for price inflation dipped by 0.5% compared with the final quarter of 2016, and a decline of 0.2% was seen even when bonuses were included.
Total average pay (including bonuses) was £511 per week and average regular pay (excluding bonuses) was £480 per week.
Although nominal wages (the amount of money received by workers) had increased over the previous 12 months, they still fell below their pre-recession levels. In November 2017, average pay (excluding bonuses) was £459 per week, £14 lower than its 2008 peak of £473; and total pay was £33 lower at £489 compared with £522.
Growth in nominal pay was largely unchanged at 2.4%, continuing to fall behind the rate of inflation, which was 2.7% in December.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, said workers deserve a larger chunk of the wealth their employers make.
“Companies have been reporting healthy profits for the last year. But they are not passing on a fair share of profits to their workers,” she said.
“The government must raise the minimum wage to £10 as quickly as possible. And hardworking teachers, midwives and other public servants must get a proper pay rise after years of artificial pay restrictions.”
The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) recommends that the government go further than providing a higher minimum wage, and reinstate sectoral collective bargaining.
Through this process, unions negotiate pay and conditions with employers’ associations in order to create wage floors and other employment related agreements that apply across entire industries. This not only helps to raise wages, but also means pay and conditions can be adapted to the needs of the sector.
This is one of the 25 recommendations the IER put forth in our 2016 Manifesto for Labour Law, which has since become the blueprint for Labour Party policy on employment law, influencing the workers’ rights section of their popular 2017 Manifesto For the Many, Not the Few.