Skip to main content

Real wages falling at the ‘fastest rate’ on record, latest ONS data reveals

WORKERS’ wages are falling at their fastest rate since records began, the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported today.

In the three months up to May, wages fell by 3.7 per cent after inflation was considered, according to the latest figures.

Bills have surged due to soaring energy and fuel bills amid the impact of the Ukraine war, but many have seen wages struggle to keep up.

Union GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “These worrying figures show that real pay is dropping fast and, with no action from a rudderless government, things are likely to get even worse for working people.

“The value of pay packets is plummeting and employers need to get wages rising or workers will face impossible choices on how to pay their bills as the cost-of-living crisis becomes a catastrophe.

“The best way to ensure living standards are protected is to empower trade unions.

“GMB is showing the way, winning above-inflation pay rises for workers across the country.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Working families need financial security, but real wages are falling at the fastest rate since current records began.

“We can’t go on like this. UK workers are suffering the worst pay squeeze in modern history.”

Ms O’Grady said that the priority for the country must be to get wages rising across the economy, not tax cuts.

She said: “That means decent pay rises for public servants, a higher minimum wage and stronger bargaining rights for working people and their unions.”

TUC analysis published earlier this month revealed that Britain is on course for the worst real wage squeeze in the G7.

Labour shadow chief secretary to the treasury Pat McFadden said: “Today’s record fall in real wages comes after a decade where wages have stagnated for workers across the economy.

“This is because the Conservatives have failed to grow the economy, which has left people more exposed to inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Labour’s number-one mission in government would be to grow our economy, making the country more prosperous and making its people better off.”

The SNP has slammed the Westminster government for prioritising the Tory leadership contest instead of taking meaningful action to support people through the Tory-made cost-of-living crisis.

The party’s treasury spokeswoman Alison Thewliss said: “Inflation is already at its highest level in 40 years and is set to rise further in autumn. People need help now, not September or October when the Tories have finally decided who they want to lead their party.

“The Westminster government has made clear where its priorities lie  — and they don’t include the millions of people struggling to make ends meet.”

Ms Thewliss said that an independent Scotland has a better chance of supporting households and escape “Westminster control and the chaos that comes with it.”

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Wages are falling at their fastest rate for two decades while inflation is through the roof.

 “Ministers and commentators say workers cannot demand pay rises due to inflationary pressures.

 “But inflation is rising not because of workers wage demands but by inflated big business profits and by a number of international economic shocks.

 “Suppression of wages has allowed companies to keep their profit margins high with the UK never having more billionaires.

 “There is no cost of living crisis for the rich in Britain and RMT along with other unions will not meekly accept pay freezes.

 “Britain deserves a pay rise and we will pursue our national rail dispute with a resolute determination to make sure we agree a negotiated settlement.”


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 4,473
We need:£ 13,527
23 Days remaining
Donate today