From education to employment

TUC – Real wages worth over £60 a month less than in 2008

pile of coins and a clock
  • New ONS ASHE figures reveal huge earnings slump since the financial crash
  • Average worker would be £180 a week better off had pay increased at pre-crisis trends

The TUC today accused the government of presiding over the “longest and harshest squeeze on earnings in modern history”.

Today’s (Wednesday) annual pay statistics published by the ONS show that real wages were worth £63 a month less in April 2022 than they were in April 2008.

The TUC says this squeeze on pay has got worst since this April, with family budgets under even more pressure since the spring from soaring prices.

The union body described the Conservatives’ record on pay as “shameful”.

The TUC estimates that had pay risen in line with its pre-financial crisis trend, the average worker would be £181 a week better off today than in 2008.

Commenting on the figures, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“Pay packets are still worth less than 14 years ago. That is shameful.

“The Conservatives have presided over the longest and harshest squeeze on earnings in modern history.

“This has left millions of families without a safety net as bills and prices have skyrocketed.

“If we don’t get pay rising across the economy, UK workers face two decades of lost living standards.

“We need a government that will boost the minimum wage to £15 an hour as soon as possible, fund decent pay rises for all public sector workers and introduce fair pay agreements for whole industries.

“We need a general election now.”

TUC analysis published last week revealed that UK workers are on course for two decades of real wages losses – the longest contraction in pay since Napoleonic times.

Commenting on the latest gender pay figures, which show that, at the current rate of progress, the gender pay gap will not be closed until 2044, Frances O’Grady said:

“Our economy is still stacked heavily against working women. At this rate, it will take decades for the gender pay gap to close.

“We need much bolder action.

“Companies must be legally required to explain how they’ll close their gender pay gaps and should face fines if they continue to discriminate against women.

“And if we don’t fix Britain’s broken childcare system, women will continue to be held back.”

The TUC is calling for:

  • Free, high-quality childcare, available to all. This would begin from the point where paid maternity or parental leave ends.  
  • A day one right to flexible working and for employers to advertise jobs as flexible upfront.
  • The overhaul of shared parental leave based on day one, individual, non-transferable rights to time off for each parent, on a use it or lose it basis for all workers and paid at a liveable rate.
  • Stronger maternity and paternity leave rights for all workers, regardless of employment status.

Related Articles