British workers see biggest fall in wages among wealthiest countries

British workers have suffered the biggest fall in the value of their wages of any of the world's wealthiest countries, according to a new study from the TUC.

British workers have suffered the biggest fall in the value of their wages of any of the world’s wealthiest countries, according to a new study from the TUC.

Workers in Britain have seen their pay drop by 4.5 per cent in real terms between 2007 and 2011, worse even than Italy and Japan.

Tellingly, however, most of the slump occurred during 2011, the first full year after George Osborne announced the government’s austerity measures, as the graph below shows.

Graph by year

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said that the government’s “blind obedience to self-defeating austerity” was to blame for the squeeze on living standards.

Left Foot Forward recently reported that just three EU countries saw a bigger drop in living standards than the UK in past two years.

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11 Responses to “British workers see biggest fall in wages among wealthiest countries”

  1. LB

    Government sets artificially low wages, prints lots of money via QE, End result inflation.

    Government increase taxes by 35%, end result low take home pay.

    Ho hum, its Westminster screwing you over as always.

    7,000 bn off the books worth of debt

    550 bn of tax.

    700 bn of spending, going up inexorably.

    It’s screwed. Which part don’t you get about the state being bankrupt?

  2. Alice Price

    Perhaps if millions of immigrants were not allowed in then wages would not be undercut and pushed down and British people could earn a living wage

    Sign this petition to restrict Bulgarian and Romanians from entering the UK:

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41492

    Over 81,000 signed at 100,000 it goes to Parliament

  3. Philip Leicester

    Alice and LB, its all about the politcal economy – who wins, how and why. And guess what, its not the Bulgarians, or Romanians (or people on benefits). And it’s not helpful to carry on the metaphor of the economy of a nation state and a household budget. Those who think like that, and Osborne in particular, should do just that – go home and run their domestic budget and leave the nation state to people who have forward looking solutions which involve us all, not one which takes us back to Victoriana.

  4. gfir

    have you ever considered independent thought, just as a concept?

  5. JobSeeker

    Let`s be explicit and specific about what has caused the slump in wages – it is mass unemployment!!

    The press and politicians take every opportunity to divide and rule the working class by casting suspicion on those who are unemployed, but those in work know that the very threat of unemployment helps the bosses to impose their will on us. When unemployment rises, the threat is greater, and employers become bold enough to force pay cuts on workers.

    The important connection between the employed and the unemployed is one which the government is desperate to conceal using its striver/skiver rhetoric. The think-tank the “Resolution Foundation” produced a report in September entitled “The chilling impact of unemployment on real wages”
    http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/media/media/downloads/What_a_drag_1.pdf
    which shows how quickly wages are being pushed down by mass unemployment.

    As wages fall the government`s cynical logic that “work must pay” gives them the pretext to cut benefit levels. This makes the fear of unemployment greater amongst those lucky enough to have a job, helping employers to force down wages further.

    In February 2008, when the prospect of a recession in the UK was being debated, the Daily Telegraph published a revealing interview with former City financier David Freud – who had been appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2006 to provide an “independent” review of the so-called welfare-to-work system. In the interview Freud claimed that he thought it was possible to get “about 1.4 million back to work”. By the time the final question of the interview came around he seemed to have forgotten the need to pretend he favoured an economy with lower unemployment, and when asked whether he thought there will be a recession, he replied “Yes, because we should have recessions every five or six years and we are due one”.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/1577313/Welfare-is-a-mess-says-adviser-David-Freud.html
    This was one of the very rare instances of a politician publicly departing from the mantra of claiming to want an economy that will produce “jobs and growth”.

    http://thetruthaboutunemployment.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/what-causes-unemployment-2/

  6. Colin Lakin

    gfir: I don’t think it’s too far fetched to suggest that if there are more workers than jobs, and more immigrant workers arrive, job competition will increase. With greater job competition comes lower wages and poorer employee rights.

    Were I a Bulgarian, I would be attracted by the higher wages in England; for that reason you can not blame immigrants: they are acting logically. However, being English, I’m selfish and I wish to protect my wage and my employee rights which would be undermined by having too many people looking for work. I’m a protectionist.

    Immigration benefits employers, but I question if it helps employees.

  7. Newsbot9

    No. Studies show that we’d have lower wages, and that the British people you hate so much would earn less. Keep up the sabotage!

  8. Newsbot9

    It’s not supported by the facts. Studies have shown that this isn’t the issue. You’re trying to LOWER your wages, and indeed are ignoring trade. If tens of billions are lost to isolationism, the costs will be socialised onto the poor. Again.

  9. Newsbot9

    That you’re a liar simply trying to destroy pensions, when you don’t understand the concept of the pound.

    And right, you keep claiming that the government “sets” private sector wages, that QE isn’t inflationary in any case, and that tax has risen 35%. All lies.

    And yes, you’re a major fraudster, talking about your 7kbn fraud. And?

  10. Newsbot9

    Oh, don’t give a free pass to the government’s deliberate suppression of demand.

  11. iglwy

    excellent comment 5 star

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