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Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Real wages cut for fifth year in a row

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) provides information about the levels, distribution and make-up of earnings and hours worked for employees in all industries and occupations. ASHE is based on a one per cent sample of employee jobs taken from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) PAYE records.The provisional 2013 figures have been released today. 

The headline is that wages continue to rise slower than inflation, resulting in a further real terms pay cut for workers. Wages went up by 2.2% (slightly less in Scotland at 2.1%) while CPI increased by 2.4%. 

However, it's even worse for public sector workers. The median gross weekly pay of full-time employees in the public sector was £574 in April 2013, up 1.6% from £564 in 2012. For the private se
ctor the comparable figure was £490, up 2.3% from £479 in 2012.

Median full-time earnings have now fallen by 6.2% in Scotland since 2010 leaving workers £1753 worse off. The figures also confirm that the bottom two income deciles have seen the biggest real terms falls in earnings since 2010, exacerbating already significant income inequality in Scotland.

The full-time gender pay gap increased to 15.7 per cent in 2013 (up from 14.8 per cent the year before). The voluntary approach to tackling gender pay inequality is clearly failing and tougher action is needed to force companies audit their pay gaps.

And the big winners this year? Farmers, with a 21.8% increase in earnings, followed closely by undertakers at 20.3%. I'll spare you the jokes!

Here is a helpful ONS pictogram to illustrate the UK picture.


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