16 June 2017
Real wages turned negative in the three months to April, prompting fears of falling living standards for workers at a time when one in five children are already living in poverty.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that pay grew by just 2.1% between February and April, well below the inflation rate of 2.7% in April and 2.9% in May. Overall, real earnings fell by 0.6%.
“Real wage growth has now fallen for the second month in a row,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.
“Unless the government gets its act together, we’ll soon be in the middle of another cost of living crisis,” she warned.
Meanwhile, a new UNICEF report has revealed that one in five children in the UK live in relative income poverty, and 34% experience multi-dimensional poverty, with Britain ranking 16th out of 30 countries on this indicator.
The charity also reported that the UK ranks in the bottom third (31st out of 40 countries) for providing decent work. Almost one in ten (8.4%) of 15-19 year olds are not in education, employment or training.
The Institute of Employment Rights argues in its Manifesto for Labour Law that the best way to raise pay and tackle inequality is through the restoration of sectoral collective bargaining underpinned by a stronger statutory minimum wage – policies adopted by the Labour Party in its 2017 General Election Manifesto.