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New Year Message Frances O'Grady vows the TUC will fight for an economy for everyone

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FRANCES O’GRADY has vowed the TUC will continue its fight for “an economy that can deliver a pay rise for everyone” in 2018 though the outlook is bleak, with Britain at the bottom of the pay-growth table.

In her New Year’s message published today, the TUC general secretary argues that wages will again fail to keep up with inflation, making 2018 another tough year for living standards.

TUC analysis of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data shows that pay is expected to fall 0.7 per cent after inflation, compared with rises in other countries. Hungary is expected to enjoy a pay increase of 4.9 per cent, Latvia 4.1 per cent, with Germany, France and the US all receiving 1 per cent rises.

Ms O’Grady said: “Real wages are still lower than they were when the financial crisis hit in 2008. And 2018 is set to be bleaker still.

“It looks like UK wages will fall the furthest of all advanced economies. On current projections, average pay won’t recover until 2025, a full 17 years after the pay squeeze began.

“So in 2018 we’ll keep campaigning for an economy that can deliver a pay rise for everyone. We’ll push to stop the worst exploitation like zero-hours contracts and the pay penalty for agency workers.

“We’ll argue for more and better jobs in every region and nation of the UK and, on May 12, we’ll march together to demand a new deal for working people.”

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka’s talks about the end of pay restraint in his message today.

He calls for an early general election in 2018 to give Britain a chance to decide whether “they want this chaos to continue”  or a fresh start, with a government committed to fairness.

He says: “Years of government austerity have forced down wages in real terms in the civil service and other parts of the public sector.

“It’s shocking that civil service pay has become so low that the second-biggest department, the HMRC (revenue & customs), has to make special adjustments to comply with the government’s own minimum-wage legislation.

“Years of pay freezes and caps has meant some of our lowest-paid members have to take second jobs or visit foodbanks to survive.”

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