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• UK workers suffering the “worst pay squeeze” in 200 years, warns union federation
• Government has failed to deal with cost of living crisis, says TUC

Workers in the North West are still £13 a week worse off than 11 years ago, according to new TUC analysis published today.

The analysis of official figures shows that real wages are still -3% below their 2008 level. 

By contrast, weekly wages in the North West grew by £84 (+23%) between 1997 and 2008.

The TUC says the last decade has been the worst period for wage growth in more than 200 years.

Not since the beginning of the 18th century has it taken so long for real wages to recover from a slump. 

Analysis published by the union federation in September revealed the impact of Britain’s “cost of living crisis”.

Unsecured household debt per household rose to £15,880 in the first quarter of 2019, up £1,160 on a year earlier. 

Over half of households now report having unsecured debt, most commonly in the form of credit card debt (60%), overdraft (28%), personal loans (25%) and car finance (25%). 

TUC Regional Secretary James McKenna said: “We need an economy that delivers for working families. But pay packets are still worth less than a decade ago.

“It’s not right that household debt is rising. And that kids in this region are growing up in poverty despite having parents in work.

The government has failed to deal with Britain’s cost of living crisis.”

The TUC is calling for:

  • New rights so that workers can access the protection of a union in every workplace, and protection when they use social media, so that nobody has to face their employer alone.
  • New rights for workers to bargain through their unions for fair pay and conditions across industries, ending the race to the bottom.
  • A £10 minimum wage as soon as possible
Editors note

Notes to editors: 

- UK regional and national changes to real average weekly earnings


Change from 1997-2008 in £ per week

Change from 1997-2008 in %

Change from 2008 to 2019 in £ per week 

Change from 2008 to 2019 in % 

North East





North West





Yorkshire and the Humber





East Midlands





West Midlands





East of England










South East





South West










- The calculations are based on median gross weekly earnings for full-time employees from the ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings.

-  The figures for weekly earnings (excluding bonuses) are adjusted for inflation using Apr 2019 CPI.


TUC Press Office 



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