Fact Service March 2022

Issue 12

Pay squeeze ‘has cheated workers of £76 a week’

The average wage would be £76 a week higher if UK growth had kept pace with the OECD average since the financial crisis, the TUC claims. It says that its analysis shows that Britain’s exceptional pay squeeze and cost of living crisis is due to government failures rather than global events.

According to the union body, while most OECD countries have delivered significant pay growth to their workers since the financial crisis, real wages in the UK have fallen.

It says that average annual pay growth in the UK has been -0.2% since 2007, and it is one of just seven of 33 OECD countries where real pay growth since 2007 is negative.

If the UK had kept pace with the OECD average since 2007, the typical UK worker’s pay packet would be worth £4,000 more today, it believes. But instead, the average real wage has fallen by £950 since 2007 due to an average annual growth rate of -0.2%.

The TUC says that the UK’s poor pay growth is a consequence of the austerity policies pursued by the last 12 years of Conservative governments, public sector pay freezes, and attacks on trade unions, including the Trade Union Act 2016.