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  • Average wages slumped by 3.4%
  • Public sector pay plummeted by 5.9%
  • Union body accuses government of making “millions poorer”
  • Number of workers on zero-hours contracts also hits record level

Commenting on today’s (Tuesday) labour market figures, which show real wage growth fell by 3.4% in 2022 – the worst annual drop since current records began in 2000 - TUC General Secretary Paul Nowak said:

“Family budgets have been decimated by more than a decade of pay stagnation. 2022 was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Instead of recognising the huge pressure households are under, the government is choosing to make millions poorer by holding down public servants’ pay.

“And rather than imposing a proper windfall tax on BP and Shell, ministers are planning to force families to cover the cost of sky-rocketing energy bills this April.

“It is little surprise that workers are having to take strike action to defend their living standards. They have been pushed to breaking point

“Ministers should be negotiating with unions on credible pay offers that protect workers from rising prices.

“But the Conservatives are investing far more energy in attacking the right to strike than in resolving disputes.”

TUC analysis published this month shows that public sector workers are earning £200 a month less in real terms than in 2010.

Zero-hours contracts

Commenting on the number of people on zero-hours contracts rising to over 1.1 million – the highest number on record - Paul Nowak added:

“Zero-hours contracts have no place in modern Britain. They allow workers to be treated like disposable labour.

“They should be banned along with other exploitative working practices like fire and rehire.

“The Conservatives promised to make Britain the best country in the world to work in.

“But they have presided over a huge explosion in insecure jobs and are now attacking a host of other workers’ rights – including the right to strike.”


Notes to editors:

Real pay fall

The real pay figures are based on the average weekly earnings (AWE) measure of regular pay adjusted for inflation with CPI.

The ONS current measure of the AWE begins in year 2000.

The Bank of England have compiled longer-run historical data for total rather than regular pay. AWE figures show in 2022 total pay declined by 2.9 per (on CPI), and this is then the steepest fall since 1977 when real pay declined by 4.3 per cent.

- About the TUC: The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together the 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.


TUC press office   020 7467 1248 

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