Real pay falls further as strike activity spreads

Date : 14 December 2022

New ONS data shows that pay in the UK continues to grow rapidly. Average weekly earnings in October 2022 were £624, including bonuses, up 6.1% year-on-year.

There remains a large wage growth disparity between public and private sectors. Public sector pay growth in September was 2.9% year-on-year, versus 6.8% in the private sector. This gap has been building since around March 2021.

In spite of relatively strong pay growth, driven by high demand and limited supply, most workers still see their wages falling behind the cost of living, meaning a “real terms” reduction.

Using the wider RPI measure of inflation, which gives wide coverage of housing cost, “real wages” have been falling for at least a year and are now down about 6.8% versus 2021.


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The ONS have also provided data on the number of working days lost to strikes. The data available suggests that industrial disputes have become increasingly prevalent since Summer 2022, with more stoppages, more days lost, and more workers involved than was usual before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The number of days lost over October was the largest number since November 2011.  


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