A QUARTER of low-paid workers are “permanently stuck” on lousy wages, according to a new study published today.
The Social Mobility Commission’s warning of “endemic” low pay came hard on the heels of separate figures showing real wages falling for the sixth month in a row.
The commission, chaired by the former New Labour cabinet minister Alan Milburn, reported that people stuck on low pay have seen their hourly wages rise by just 40p in real terms over the last decade.
One in six workers have managed to moved to better-paid jobs in the past decade, with half fluctuating in and out.
Mr Milburn said: “Britain has an endemic low-pay problem. While record numbers of people are in employment, too many jobs are low-skill and low-paid.
“Millions of workers, particularly women, are being trapped in low pay with little chance of escape. The consequences for social mobility are dire.”
The study was conducted by the Resolution Foundation, whose senior policy analyst Conor D’Arcy said: “This lack of pay progress can have a huge scarring effect on people’s lifetime living standards.”
On Tuesday night, trade unionists rallied in Westminster to demand an end to the 1
per cent public-sector pay cap, which has deprived workers of thousands of pounds in real terms since the Tories came to power in 2010.
New figures released yesterday showed that average earnings increased by 2.2 per cent in the year to August, unchanged from the previous month’s figures. This is well below the retail price index of inflation, which stands at 3.9 per cent, and the consumer price index, at 3 per cent.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Pay packets are taking a hammering. This is the sixth month in a row that prices have risen faster than wages.
“Britain desperately needs a pay rise. Working people are earning less today [in real terms] than a decade ago.”
Ms O’Grady called on Chancellor Philip Hammond to “ditch” the pay cap in his Budget next month.
Shadow employment minister Margaret Greenwood called the news “deeply concerning.”
General union Unite leader Len McCluskey added: “Government minsters must get a grip of the continued squeeze in incomes that is leaving many families struggling to make ends meet.
“The government must be mindful that its continued proclamations of a jobs miracle will go down like the proverbial lead balloon among people piecing two and three badly paid, insecure jobs together to get by.”