Union fury as workers
see drop in real wages

Workers in Sheffield have seen a big fall in their real earnings
Workers in Sheffield have seen a big fall in their real earnings
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The real value of average earnings in Sheffield has fallen by almost a quarter, according to a newly-published report.

The value of average pay in the city has slumped by some 23 per cent in the recession, making Sheffield one of the worst-affected areas in the UK.

The study, carried out by the GMB union, revealed the average fall in the real value of wages for the whole of the UK was 14 per cent.

Yorkshire and the Humber’s average figure was slightly higher at 15 per cent.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “These alarming figures show how hard-pressed working people are struggling to pay their bills after years of wage decline and attacks on the living standards of families.

“Working people deserve and need a decent rise to halt the drop in living standards.”

He said unions had been warning all year that wages were failing to keep up with inflation and workers were missing out on the upturn in the economy.

South Yorkshire residents said they had all felt the pinch.

Posting on The Star’s Facebook page, Jimmy Sherwin said: “All public services that are trying to raise their working conditions have my full support – e.g, fire service, council services and NHS to name but a few – as they also raise the private sector’s pay standards indirectly.

“We should all strive for better working conditions.”

Caz Bladebabe Maw said: “We have definitely felt the pinch, pay frozen for two years.

“If we tighten our belts anymore, we will be cut in two.”

Meanwhile, a study by The Jobs Economist consultancy has forecast an average earnings increase of 2.4 per cent – but it is not expected to make a difference as the rise in real pay is too small or non-existent. Dr John Philpott, director of The Jobs Economist, said: “The economy won’t experience any serious wage inflation in 2014, but workplaces will see the emergence of even greater wage inequality.”