In the last five years East Midlands workers have suffered a huge squeeze on their incomes with average pay falling by 5.7per cent in real terms – a real terms loss of £25.53 in the pay packets of employees working a 40-hour week, according to research published on Wednesday, September 4, by the TUC as part of its Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign.
The TUC analysis of official figures compares hourly pay rates in 2007 (at 2012 prices) with those in 2012 and shows the extent of the pay squeeze being felt by families in the east midlands as incomes fail to keep pace with rising prices.
The wage squeeze in the East Midlands is slightly lower than the national average – across the UK pay has fallen by 6.3per cent in real terms, a loss of £30.30 in the pay packets of full-time employees.
People living in Leicester suffered the biggest squeeze on pay in the East Midlands where real hourly pay fell by 10.4per cent which meant workers found themselves £42.13 a week worse off in real terms.
People living in Northamptonshire suffered the next biggest squeeze on wages in the East Midlands. Hourly pay rates here fell in real terms from £11.77 in 2007 to £10.77 in 2012, an 8.5per cent cut, and a corresponding £40.03 weekly hit in their wage packets.
Northamptonshire is closely followed by the rural county of Leicestershire and the city of Nottingham, which saw hourly rates drop by 6.9 per cent and 6.3 per cent respectively.
Across the East Midlands men have seen their pay hit harder than women. According to the TUC analysis male workers have seen their hourly real pay rates drop from £12.76 to £11.88, a 6.9per cent fall which works out at £35.10 less in their weekly pay packets in 2012 compared to 2007. Female employees saw their wages decline by 3.6per cent in real terms over the five years, a loss of £13.99 for an average full-time worker on a 40-hour week.
Commenting on the figures, Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: “Across the East Midlands families are still really struggling to make their money go far enough – and are often having to go into debt – as they experience a huge squeeze on their household incomes.
“With real wages still falling, most people are being forced to use their credit cards or their dwindling savings if they need to purchase anything beyond the most everyday of items.
“Workers’ real hourly pay rates have taken a hit over the past five years because wages have failed to keep up with inflation. But this fall is also a result of the worrying increase in insecure and short-hours employment.
“And in many cases when people have lost their jobs, and are fortunate enough to find work, they are forced to take jobs with fewer hours and on lower rates of pay. This is not the way to build a strong economy – the UK needs far more better jobs on much better rates of pay.
“Next week at our annual Congress our Britain Needs a Pay Rise campaign will take centre stage as unions continue to push for decent and fair wages across both the private and the public sectors.
“We will also be urging those employers who can afford to pay a living wage to start doing so. If workers have more money in their pockets, they will feel more confident about spending that extra cash and that’s something that families, businesses and UK the economy can all benefit from.”