Pay squeeze continues

Unite GS slams profiteers ‘raking it in’ while rest of the country ‘subjected to national pay cut’

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An unprecedented pay squeeze continues after new figures published today (October 11) show that real-terms pay has fallen by nearly 3 per cent in the three months to August.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that real-terms wages had dropped 2.9 per cent between June and August, only slightly less than the record-breaking 3 per cent fall in the previous three-month period.

Looking at figures over the last year, regular pay, which excludes bonuses and overtime, has fallen an astonishing 4 per cent as rising inflation continues to hammer people’s living standards amid the cost of living crisis.

Commenting on the latest figures, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “While the profiteers and city bankers are raking it in, the rest of country is being subjected to a national pay cut.

“Even using the lower rate of inflation, ONS figures show regular pay falling by four per cent in real terms. It becomes ever clearer that unfettered profiteering – not wages – has been driving inflation,” she added.

Separate data published alongside today’s pay figures also found that a record number of adults not in work because they are long-term sick. These people are not counted in official statistics as unemployed because they are no longer looking for work and are considered ‘economically inactive’.

The percentage of working-age adults who are economically inactive, which includes students, has risen by 0.6 per cent over the last three months to an alarming 21.7 per cent, totalling nearly 9m people who are not looking for work. Of these, it is estimated that 2.5m adults are unemployed because of long-term sickness.

The latest data on pay belies a persistent myth propagated by both the government and many in the media that wages are fuelling inflation in a so-called ‘wage-price spiral’.

As Unite has long highlighted – and proved in research carried out earlier this year – it is excess corporate profits that are driving inflation, not wages, as real pay has continued to fall over the last year.

Unite continues to fight back against the cost of living crisis for its members through industrial action and negotiation. Since last August, when Unite general secretary Sharon Graham was elected, about 76,000 of the union’s members have been involved in more than 450 disputes, which have seen a win rate of 80 per cent. In total, Unite has secured more than £150m for its members in the last year alone.

By Hajera Blagg

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