UK workers see 10.4 per cent wage drop – the biggest in OECD besides Greece

Real wages from 2007 to 2015 fell despite more jobs, says TUC


Workers in the UK have seen the biggest fall in real wages of any leading economy, with a pay drop matched only by Greece.

Data parsed by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows how wages fell 10.4 per cent between 2007 and 2015 – the biggest drop of any OECD country.

Meanwhile, wages grew by 23 per cent in Poland, 13.9 per cent in Germany and 10.5 per cent in France, with an OECD average rise of 6.7 per cent.

Only three OECD countries saw real wages fall: Greece, Portugal – economies ravaged by the financial crisis – and the United Kingdom.

The government has hailed growing employment rates since 2007-8, but today’s analysis shows this has not meant higher real wages for UK workers.

Germany, Hungary and Poland have boosted employment even more, and seen a rise in real wages at the same time.

Poverty has also remained steady in the UK, with two thirds of children in poverty living in working households, according to the IFS.

Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary, said:

‘Wages fell off the cliff after the financial crisis, and have barely begun to recover.

As the Bank of England recently argued, the majority of UK households have endured a ‘lost decade of income’.’

She added:

‘This analysis shows why the government needs to invest in large infrastructure projects to create more decent, well-paid jobs.

Other countries have shown that it is possible to increase employment and living standards at the same time.’

Here’s the full data:

Real Wage Growth TUC

See: Theresa May brags about record employment — but what are those jobs really worth?

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5 Responses to “UK workers see 10.4 per cent wage drop – the biggest in OECD besides Greece”

  1. wg

    John Reid, ex-Labour Cabinet Minister, told the BBC’s Andrew Neil that “The Treasury insisted on having a free flow of labour because they thought that brought down the cost of labour…”

    What parts of “wage drop” and “brought down the cost of labour” can this site not distinguish between.

    Labour imposed low wages on workers in the UK, and imported poverty – for the TUC to absolve itself, and the Labour party, of their part in this, displays an arrogant contempt for the people on the bottom of the pile, who have had to endure their destructive policies.

  2. CR

    Uncontrolled immigration and basic supply & demand.

    It’s about time the left put British workers and their interests back at the top of the priority list.

  3. Andy King

    Germany – like the UK – has ‘uncontrolled’ immigration, and yet wages there have increased 13.9%. Clearly then, there is not an inevitable link between migration and low wages.

    We live in a globalized economy, and as long as we have unrestricted and unfettered movement of finance, then we will have migration. People will follow the money. It is up to the UK government (always assuming the UK lasts, of course…) to implement policies that protect wages and conditions of employment. The Tories have abjectly failed to do this. This is ‘arrogant contempt for the people on the bottom of the pile’. And so is progating the fantasy that we can have a globalized ecomony without migration.

  4. wg

    @Andy King – as your comment quotes a phrase from mine, I must assume that you are addressing me.

    If we are to be subject to a “globalised economy” that requires a mass movement of cheap labour, and if we are now part of a global no-holds-barred free-for-all, what use is there for a Labour party?

  5. Mike Stallard

    Round here the influx of very cheap labour from Romania and Bulgaria has certainly depressed wages. Many young men and women are unable to find jobs at all, despite having a degree.
    And the Labour Party? Totally disinterested.

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