Actual earnings in the UK have shrunk by £76 ($93) a month over the course of a year as a result of pay not keeping pace with inflation, the nation’s federation of trade unions, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.
According to its report on Monday, Britons have seen the sharpest drop in real wages since 1977 and the second worst on record since the end of World War II in 1945. Real wages are defined as the amount people earned in relation to their cost of living.
Data showed that key workers in the public sector are now £180 ($221) a month worse off in real terms than they were a year ago.
The report comes as many workers across the UK, including postal workers, train and bus drivers, as well as NHS workers and teachers, have either started or are about to strike for increased pay.
The current wave of industrial action in Britain is the result of workers “being pushed to breaking point” by years of pay austerity, TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady explained. She has accused ministers of being more interested in escalating disputes than resolving them.
“Family budgets have been shredded by soaring bills and more than a decade of pay being held down. The Conservatives have presided over the longest real wage squeeze in over 200 years,” O’Grady stressed.
“The Tories’ failure to get pay rising has left millions of households brutally exposed to the cost-of-living emergency. We cannot be a country where NHS and teaching staff have to use food banks, while City bankers are given unlimited bonuses,” the TUC general secretary concluded.