The TUC's campaign to increase Britain's pay packet, and see it shared more fairly.
We're facing the tightest living standards squeeze for nearly a century
Far too many people earn too little to get by. Wages are stagnant, and the real value of UK pay packets has fallen by 7% since the 2008 crash. Across the public sector and in much of the private sector pay is frozen or rising far more slowly than inflation. Average earnings today are no higher than they were in 2000 and it is set to take until 2017 for pay to return to its pre-crash level.
This is a problem that many people faced even before the recession. After accounting for inflation, the wages of ordinary full-time workers barely grew between 2003 and 2008 and were negative for the lowest earners, despite relatively healthy economic growth. It was only the very richest - the top 5% - who experienced faster wage growth.
In fact, the wages pie has been gradually shrinking since the 1970s
For the last thirty years the British economy has seen a steady shift in the way national income has been distributed, away from wages and towards profits.
The poorest half of the population have borne the brunt of Britain's shrinking wage pie, and now receive just 12p of every pound of UK GDP - a 25% fall since the late 1970s.
But the super rich continue to see their incomes soar
Boardroom pay has continued to rise above inflation whilst the downward pressure on wages for lower and middle earners continues.
Since the 1980s some top bosses have seen pay rises as high as 4000%. The average chief executive now earns 145 times more than the average wage.
Falling wages and growing inequality hits businesses as well as households
When wages fail to rise, it's not just household budgets that are squeezed - businesses also feel the pain of reduced spending. Since 2008 Britain's stagnating pay packets have cost the economy over £50 billion.
Depressed wages equal depressed consumer demand, which leads to less investment and productivity falls - a spiral of economic decline. Lower wages also mean reduced tax receipts, leaving less revenue for vital services.
BRITAIN NEEDS A PAYRISE
Getting money back into people pockets is essential to securing a strong recovery.
We also need to avoid another debt fuelled spending boom of the sort that caused the recent financial crisis - sustainable economic growth depends on fairer pay for ordinary workers and smaller bonuses for the super rich. That's why the TUC is campaigning for action that will start to move our economy back in the right direction.
- A properly enforced minimum wage:
While the national minimum wage safeguards from extreme low pay it's no use if not properly enforced. We need the Government to publicly name and shame those companies who aren't paying up. HMRC also need more resources to help them to identify more minimum wage cheats.
- Higher minimum wages for employers who can afford to pay more:
We know that in many low paid sectors employers could afford to pay more without making job losses. That's why we need new ways for unions and employers to work together to set higher wages, so that workers and businesses both get a fair deal.
- Increased commitment to the living wage:
Companies that can well afford to pay the living wage are not doing so and contractors are winning lucrative public sector contracts are continuing to pay poverty wages. We need more local authorities to make sure that their own staff, and those in their supply chains, get at least the living wage.
- A crackdown on excessive executive pay:
Pay at the top continues to rocket, fuelling inequality and excessive financial risk taking. We need real action to get top pay under control starting with worker representation on pay committees and far more transparency about how much the super rich are being paid.