Most Brits say their wages have fallen recently


by Newswire    
12:01 am - December 13th 2012

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A new poll of Britons in full and part time work shows that 71% of employees – around 21 million workers – say their wages have fallen in real terms over the last two years.

Worse, 83% of working people think the current National Minimum Wage isn’t enough to meet their living costs.

The findings will strengthen Labour’s point that the government is penalising poor working people by cutting benefits while easing the burden for richer people.

Despite the better headline numbers in Wednesday’s job figures, the UK average weekly year-over-year earnings at 1.8% remain significantly below CPI inflation (2.7%) – a real-terms wages cut for millions of workers.

The nationally representative poll also found that three quarters of working people (74%) would be more likely to buy products or services from a company that pays its workforce the Living Wage rather than the Minimum Wage.

The poll was carried out by Survation as part of the Unions21 Fair Work Commission.

Director of Unions21 Dan Whittle said:

There is still time left before Christmas for employers to increase the pay of their workers on Minimum Wage to the Living Wage – the evidence is that for those that do this will provide a real boost to business.”

The Unions21 Fair Work Commission identified unfair pay as the top barrier to fairness, 1 in 5 working people made it their priority. Our polling shows people want pay rises at the bottom and pay restraint at the top to make pay fairer.

71% of British workers would also support a cap on bonuses at double total base salary.

The full tables from the poll will be up on the Survation website.

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Reader comments


Just to pick up on one of many points. Of course loads of people don’t think that the minimum wage wouldn’t meet their costs. The 30ish% who have mortgages for a start.

This article is so fast and loose with its numbers, it’s scary…

” Despite the better headline numbers in Wednesday’s job figures, the UK average weekly year-over-year earnings at 1.8% remain significantly below CPI inflation (2.7%) – a real-terms wages cut for millions of workers. ”

Receiving a wage increase below CPI is of itself meaningless. You simply can’t assume that everyone receiving a wage increase below CPI is having a real-terms wage cut. The media say they are but they are innumerate. CPI is an index of a basket of goods and services with different weightings. Unless you spend your disposable income by the exact same proportion to the weightings then the CPI number is not personal to you. Broadly speaking it is an average for the economy. For example, student tuition fees add around 0.2 to CPI. Unless you are paying for tuition fees then that part does not affect you. The same thing applies for airline flight tickets which are closely aligned to oil prices.

If you spend a large part of your income on domestic energy, fuel, transport and food then your personal CPI is probably a lot higher than 2.7%. That is why many people at the bottom of the income distribution feel a lot poorer because it is those things in recent years that have seen the greatest upward pressure. As you say the 1.8% is an average and some people will receive more and some less. Most figures presented as the amount of people facing real-terms cuts are merely guesses because everyone spends their income by different proportions on goods and services.

Was this article written to support Osborne’s limit of 1% rise in benefits? It looks like it to me. If the average wage is decreasing with inflation, what’s the argument for not doing the same with benefits?

Over the last five years, I have had two 0%, two 1% and one 1.5% annual salary increases. So I fully support the 1% increase in benefits, which strikes me as fair and prudent.

5. Chaise Guevara

“The nationally representative poll also found that three quarters of working people (74%) would be more likely to buy products or services from a company that pays its workforce the Living Wage rather than the Minimum Wage.”

No it didn’t. It found that they claim they would, which is a completely different thing. There’s a massive gap between what people say they would do and what they actually do in terms of ethical spending.

Basically, all this tells you is “If one company used the living wage and the other didn’t, and this fact was made clear to shoppers without them having to do their own research, and there were no other differences between them in terms of price, convenience etc., then the first company would get the sales”.

@Tone: I fully support the shooting of a tory

7. Man on Clapham Omnibus

4. TONE

Since the Tories are rewarding hard work ,we can only assume you are not working hard enough.


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