STUC comment as report confirms falling real wages

November 19th 2014

Commenting following publication of the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2014 by the Office for National Statistics, Grahame Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) General Secretary, said:

“Today’s report confirms that the median wage in Scotland fell yet again in real terms during the year to April 2014. If wages had kept pace with CPI inflation since 2009, the median worker in Scotland would now be earning £1705 more per year.

“Of course the impact of falling real wages is not evenly shared. The pay of the top 10% of corporate managers and directors has more than outstripped inflation in the period since 2009 when the median real wage started to fall. This group now earns £5840 a year more than if their wages had simply kept pace with CPI. On the other hand, those in the bottom 10% of elementary administrative and service occupations have seen their pay actually fall in nominal terms.

“Real wages grew last month across the UK as a whole but this was attributable to falling inflation not rising nominal wages. Real wage growth has been forecast regularly since the recovery in GDP growth became embedded last year but has yet to transpire. The STUC is sceptical that real wages, particularly for those in low wage, insecure work, will start to grow strongly in the short-term”.

ENDS

Notes

1 The ONS report and tables can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ashe/annual-survey-of-hours-and-earnings/2014-provisional-results/stb-ashe-statistical-bulletin-2014.html

2 If wages were adjusted for RPI inflation the loss since 2009 would be even greater; the median worker would now be earning £2619 more per annum.

3 It should be noted that ASHE data does not include the self-employed and therefore tends to overstate the strength of wage growth.

4 The STUC will be analysing ASHE 2014 data over the coming weeks and will include a more comprehensive analysis in our 2015 Budget Submission.

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