UK workers experienced sharpest wage fall of any leading economy, TUC analysis finds

Share this page

UK workers have suffered the biggest fall in real wages among leading OECD countries, according to new analysis published today (Wednesday) by the TUC.

The analysis shows that between 2007 and 2015, real wages in the UK fell by 10.4% – a drop equalled only by Greece.

By contrast, over the same eight-year period, real wages grew in Poland by 23%, in Germany by 14%, and in France by 11%. Across the OECD, real wages increased by an average of 6.7%.

The UK, Greece and Portugal were the only three OECD countries which saw real wages fall.

The analysis also shows that while the UK has increased employment rates since the economic crisis, countries such as Germany, Hungary and Poland have increased employment rates significantly more, while raising real wages at the same time.

Commenting on the figures, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Wages fell off the cliff after the financial crisis, and have barely begun to recover.

“As the Bank of England recently argued, the majority of UK households have endured a ‘lost decade of income’.

“People cannot afford another hit to their pay packets. Working people must not foot the bill for a Brexit downturn in the way they did for the bankers’ crash.

“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.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Real wage change (%)

Employment rate change (percentage points)

Greece

-10.4

-9.0

UK

-10.4

0.6

Portugal

-3.7

-5.4

Italy

0.9

-2.3

Czech Rep

1.1

1.0

Ireland

1.6

-7.9

Spain

2.8

-8.5

Netherlands

3.4

-1.7

Denmark

4.0

-3.2

Lithuania

4.3

5.5

Israel

4.3

1.9

Finland

4.3

-3.8

Belgium

4.4

-0.7

Japan

4.7

2.6

Latvia

4.9

-3.0

USA

6.4

-3.4

Austria

6.5

1.2

OECD average

6.7

-0.6

Slovenia

7.2

-4.3

Australia

7.2

-0.7

Hungary

9.3

5.9

Canada

9.4

-1.7

Sweden

10.1

-0.7

France

10.5

-1.8

Luxembourg

11.1

-1.2

Switzerland

11.3

0.5

Slovakia

12.3

0.9

Estonia

13.4

2.2

Germany

13.9

5.1

Poland

23.0

4.5

- The TUC calculated the changes in employment and real wages using OECD data released in their 2016 Employment Outlook. The data are related to figures 1.2 and 1.6. The OECD derive real wages from national accounts, dividing total wages by hours worked and putting into real terms with the household consumption deflator. These can differ from those based on average weekly earnings and CPI inflation used in the UK.

- The Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane, warned about a lost decade in a speech on 30 June: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2016/speech916.pdf

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews

Press Release
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

Share this Page