Wages in UK declining as much as in Greece, TUC finds

Written by Tom Freeman on 27 July 2016 in News

OECD figures reveal UK wages have dropped over ten per cent to join Greece at the bottom of table

Payroll - credit Matt Brown

Wages in the UK have dropped by over 10 per cent in real terms since the 2007/08 economic downturn, according to a new report by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The decline was equalled only by Greece among the 34 countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with Portugal the only other country to see a drop. 

The figures come from the OECD's annual employment report earlier in the month, which showed wage growth had been "weak" across all countries.


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However real wages increased by an average of 6.7 per cent across the OECD between 2007 and 2015, while in the UK they fell 10.4 per cent. Germany saw an increase of 14 per cent and French workers saw an 11 per cent rise.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This analysis shows why the government needs to invest in large infrastructure projects to create more decent, well-paid jobs. Other countries have shown that it is possible to increase employment and living standards at the same time.”

A Treasury spokesman told The Guardian the UK's employment rate had grown faster than any other G7 country. “There is more to do to build an economy and country that works for everyone not just a privileged few, and we are determined to do exactly that,” he said.

Last week's employment statistics showed Scotland's jobless rate remains higher than that of the UK as a whole, at 5.5 per cent compared with 4.9 per cent across the UK. There was also little sign of growth.

Commenting on the figures STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said reversing George Osborne's economic model was a priority.

“With GDP growth flat-lining in the first quarter, the offshore sector continuing to struggle and the impact of Brexit uncertainty yet to be revealed in official statistics, the STUC remains of the view that 2016 will be a particularly difficult year for the Scottish economy. The further decline in manufacturing output emphasises once again that politicians at all levels would be well advised to resist hackneyed claims over industrial rebalancing," he said.

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