Wage growth projection worse in UK than in Greece

by Ray Clancy on January 8, 2018

Official figures have shown that there has been a drop off in the number of people moving to the UK to work from European Union nations due to Brexit, but wage growth may also be a factor.

The latest forecast suggests that the UK will have the worst wage performance of any advanced economy in 2018. According to new report from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), real wages are set to fall again this year, placing the UK last in the OECD for pay growth.


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‘Real wages are still lower than they were when the financial crisis hit in 2008 and 2018 is set to be bleaker still. It looks like UK wages will fall the furthest of all advanced economies,’ said Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary.

Indeed, the TUC analysis of OECD figures says that on current projections, average pay won’t recover until 2025, a full 17 years after the pay squeeze began.

O’Grady also warned of the danger of a CETA-style deal. ‘As the UK gets ready to leave the EU, we want a Brexit deal that puts jobs and rights first. Trade deals like CETA don’t protect workers’ rights, set up special courts just for corporations and make it harder to bring rail back into public ownership,’ she said.

‘So instead, we want all options on the table, including keeping us in the single market and customs union, and we’ll keep fighting for the deal working people need,’ she added.

According to the analysis Hungary is set to see the strongest wage growth in 2018 at 4.9%, followed by Latvia at 4.1%, Poland at 3.8%, the Czech Republic at 3.7%, Slovenia at 3.5% and Israel at 3%.

The bigger European economies are not expected to do well in terms of wage growth. Ireland is likely to do best with wage growth of 1.3%, twelfth in the OECD rankings, with the Netherlands and Portugal both on 1.1% in joint 14th place along with Norway.

Germany is ranked 18 with projected wage growth of 0.9%, France at 20 with 0.8%, Greece at 27 with 0.2%, Belgium 28 at 0.1% and Switzerland at 20 on 0%. Wage growth is projected to fall by 0.1% while Italy is likely to see a fall of 0.6% and the UK a fall of 0.7%.

It means that even Greece, which has gone through serious economic problems in recent years, is expected to see higher wage growth than Britain.

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