Workers in the UK are experiencing the longest and most severe squeeze in earnings since records began in Victorian times, say the TUC.
New analysis published today (12 October) from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) found that workers have been forced to endure seven consecutive years of falling wages – a historical first.
TUC say that even the pay squeeze during the great depression in the 1920’s was shorter.
Current earnings have declined by over 8% since 2007 and despite the supposed economic upturn workers still face a “financial misery”, with wages lagging well behind prices – creating a cost of living crisis.
TUC compared the situation faced by workers in Britain today with other economic slumps – 1865-67, 1874-78, 1921-23 and 1976-77. During each of these periods wages fell for two years before earnings growth restored, apart from 1874 – 78 when there was four years of falling real earnings.
Seven years after economic slumps in the 1860’s and 1970’s, wages were back above their pre-recession levels. Although earnings went into ‘free-fall’ after the downturns of the 1870’s and 1920’s, the TUC analysis found that today’s squeeze in earnings is ‘twice as deep’ than the worst of the two periods (8% compared to 4% in the 1920s).
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It’s shocking that even the most infamous periods of pay depression in the last 150 years pale into comparison when looking at the current seven-year collapse in earnings.
“The government says the economy is growing again, but there’s no evidence of any recovery in ordinary workers’ pay packets. Across the country people are struggling to make ends meet, as their pay lags behind prices and there seems to be no end in sight to their financial misery.
“Vast swathes of Britain are long overdue a pay rise. That’s why we expect to see tens of thousands join our march next weekend, calling on politicians and employers to help them share in the recovery and start spending again without fear of falling into debt.”