FULL-TIME workers have seen their weekly earnings fall in real terms for the first time in three years and are still paid an average of £38 a week less than before the financial crash in 2008.
Median weekly earnings grew by 2.2 per cent to £550 a week, but they are down by 0.4 per cent on last year when inflation is taken into account, according to a report published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The TUC estimated that real wages are 7.9 per cent below their 2008 level at an average of £38 a week, though in some areas such as London, the figure was put at £68.
In England’s south-east and in Yorkshire and Humber regions the figure is £45.
The TUC added that the ONS figures could be even worse next year.
General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Most families still haven’t recovered from the financial crash, yet their pay packets are now taking another hammering.
“It’s leaving millions of working people facing hardship and getting deeper into debt.
“Public-sector workers have had it especially hard, with real pay cuts for seven long years. Chancellor Philip Hammond must use next month’s Budget to give them the pay rise they’ve earned.”
She also called on the Chancellor to help low-paid workers by raising the minimum wage to £10 an hour as soon as possible.
The figures also show that the gap between men’s and women’s pay is narrowing so slowly that it will take decades to achieve equal pay — the pay gap fell from 9.4 per cent to 9.1 per cent last year.
Ms O’Grady said: “The government needs to crank up the pressure on employers. Companies shouldn’t just be made to publish their gender pay gaps. They should be forced to explain how they’ll close them. Those bosses who flout the law should be fined.”
Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “This government has fundamentally failed working people with over seven million people now living in poverty in a working household.
“It has also failed women, who are still being paid on average nearly 20 per cent less than men.
“The next Labour government will immediately give millions a pay rise by introducing a £10 per hour real living wage, scrapping the public-sector pay cap and taking action to close the gender pay gap.”