Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Britain needs a pay rise

The PCS union today launched a new report 'Britain needs a pay rise' looking at the effect of falling wages on the UK economy.

The report shows that UK workers (public and private sector) are collectively losing £50 billion a year since austerity pay policies were introduced from 2008.

As today's inflation figures show RPI inflation at 3.3%, this looks set to continue and worsen - as the average pay settlement has been 1.5% over the last year.

The report notes that since the onset of recession in 2008 the real value of wages has fallen by 7% (£50 billion a year). During the same period there has been a real terms drop in consumer demand of 5%.

This is not a coincidence - freezing or capping wages sucks demand out of the economy. It also forces more workers on to tax credits, housing benefit and other welfare payments costing the government more.

For public sector workers in general, and civil servants in particular, there are lots more facts specific to them in the report - including comparators with the private sector. In the public sector, where all increases are capped at 1% this year (for many for the second year after a two year pay freeze), pay policy will cut £7 billion a year until 2015 (at least).

Whatever sector you work in, the report highlights the necessity for workers' wages to improve for any recovery to take hold.

Launching the report today, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:
"Almost everyone can now see that austerity is not working. The chancellor George Osborne is borrowing more for failure, we are on the verge of a triple dip recession, food banks are on the rise and pay day loan sharks are preying on the vulnerable.

"We believe the government's pay policy, built on the lie that hardworking civil servants are paid too much, is having a seriously damaging effect on the whole economy.

"Instead of burying their heads in the sand and hoping for the best, ministers can and should act now to put money into people's pockets and back into our economy."

Read the report

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