Socialist Worker

Workers in Britain set for biggest pay cuts of 32 most advanced economies

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2585

Frances OGrady

Frances O'Grady (Pic: John Innit/Wikicommons)

Workers in Britain will suffer the biggest pay cuts of the world’s 32 most advanced economies in 2018, according to the TUC union federation.

The TUC analysis puts Hungary at the top of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development pay growth league, with an expected 4.9 percent rise. Greece is 27th with a rise of 0.2 percent.

Yet wages for workers in Britain are expected to fall by another 0.7 percent.

Wages are set to remain below 2008 levels and they aren’t forecast to recover until 2025.

This follows analysis from the Resolution Foundation that predicted zero growth in real wages over the course of 2018.


This means pay cuts for many workers who receive less than the average rise.

No wonder workers are fed up. One in five are already looking for a new job according to a study by Investors in People. And almost half said they planned to look for a new job this year. Meanwhile the bosses are raking it in.

The Vlerick Business School found that the average FTSE 100 boss got an 11 percent rise in their median total income between 2015 and 2016.

They now grab an average of 94 times more than the average worker.

And the GMB union exposed how much faster pay has risen for bosses compared to workers over the last two decades.

It said the minimum wage would be £5.24 an hour higher had it risen at the same rate as the salary of a FTSE 100 boss.

That would give a worker over 25, working 40 hours a week, an annual wage of £26,000 instead of the current £14,664.


Meanwhile the average FTSE 100 boss trousers £4.35 million a year.

By 4 January the average FTSE 100 boss had already grabbed the same amount of cash as the average worker earns over the whole of this year.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said that the TUC will “push to stop the worst exploitation, like zero hours contracts and the pay penalty for agency workers”.

“We’ll argue for more and better jobs,” she said. “And on May 12 we’ll march together to demand a new deal for working people.”

It’s good that the TUC has called a protest.

However, reversing the pay cuts will mean calling and organising more than one protest and, crucially, the strikes that have the power to beat the bosses.

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