The latest ONS figures show that pay growth excluding bonuses slowed unexpectedly to 2.6% between October and December, from 2.7% between September and November. Real pay growth of 1.4% was the slowest in two years, as the gap narrows between inflation – which is rising – and the rate of wage increases.
The national average masks considerable regional disparities – for example, the report finds a 5.5% fall in average full-time wages in Northern Ireland over past twelve months. With inflation on the rise, many are predicting rising costs and declining living standards over the next twelve months.
Unite the union’s Regional Secretary for Northen Ireland, Jimmy Kelly, responded to the latest quarterly Labour Force Survey statistics published on February 15th by the Office of National Statistics:
“There are now more and more just-about-managing working households – and a real growth in genuine working poverty. Evidence shows that members of trade unions have higher wages – workers seeing these statistics need to join a trade union to raise their take home pay.”
Public and Commercial Services union general secretary Mark Serwotka added that:
“The government needs to act to put money in people’s pockets and arrest the decline in living standards. The first step must be for the chancellor to use his upcoming budget to end the public sector pay cap that has meant civil servants have lost up to one fifth of their real incomes.”