Why is employment rising when the UK economy is still flatlining? Our new research could provide the answer.
Figures show that since the onset of recession in 2008 the real value of wages has fallen by 7%, or more than £50 billion a year. During the same period there has been a real terms drop in consumer demand of 5%.
The report, 'Britain needs a pay rise', published today (Tuesday 12), argues this fall in the value of pay could be a major obstacle to the return of economic growth.
The report also busts the myth that civil servants are paid more than their private sector counterparts.
Serious debate on pay
Using data from the Office for National Statistics and research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and government departments, employment specialists Croner and Incomes Data Services, and the Resolution Foundation, other findings include:
- The government's four-year pay policy, plus the increase in pension contributions, will cut almost £7 billion a year from the value of public sector employees' pay by 2015
- Median pay in the civil service is 4.4%, or £1,263, lower than median pay in direct private sector comparators
- At executive officer level civil service pay was 10% below private sector comparators and at administrative officer level it was 8%
- These discrepancies in pay for executive officers and administrative officers are found in every nation and region in the UK
The report aims to generate a serious debate about the effects of low pay and government pay policy on the UK economy.
It comes as 250,000 of our members who work in civil and public services start voting in an industrial action ballot over cuts to their pay, pensions and terms and conditions.
We have asked for a pay rise for civil servants of 5% or £1,200 and for the living wage to be written into government contracts with private sector employers.
Money in people's pockets
While ministers are not able to increase wages across the whole economy, increases in public sector pay and the national minimum wage - and support for the extension of the living wage by insisting on it for government contracts - would stimulate demand and act as a catalyst for the private sector.