Stark warning over shrinking wages

PurseWorkers are suffering from poor earnings growth, rising household debt and a widening pay gap with bosses - despite becoming more productive over the past 30 years, according to a new study.

The TUC estimated that workers were taking home £60 billion a year less in real terms than 30 years ago and faced a "near permanent" lowering of pay and conditions.
A report for the union organisation, All In This Together?, warned that the trend could have "disastrous" consequences for the future of the UK economy.

The only group of workers immune from the country's shrinking wage pool were top executives, who received pay rises of 10% in 2010 and 17% last year, said the report.

The pay gap between executives and their staff has widened, said the TUC, with the ratio of pay between top bosses and other workers rising from 47:1 in 2000 to 102:1 last year.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Over the last three decades workers have become more productive and yet they have been rewarded with an ever smaller share of the wealth they've created.

"The tens of billions of pounds that workers miss out on each year has been papered over by rising credit card bills and a housing boom, but the financial crash has brought home the reality of our shrinking wage pool to millions of workers and their families.

"Our current squeeze on living standards could be alleviated if the share of our national wealth that goes on wages started to return to the levels seen three decades ago. Low and middle income earners are understandably angry that they have borne the brunt of Britain's lost wages, while those at the top are completely immune.

"Politicians need to recognise lost wages as a key cause of the recent financial crash and start taking steps to ensure that a greater share of our national wealth goes to all of those that help create it, rather than a few at the top.

"Wage-led growth, based on greater collective bargaining, better skilled workers, better corporate governance and a broader base of well-paid jobs, is the only way to generate a sustainable economic recovery that everyone benefits from."
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