Working people in 9 countries still worse off than before crisis!

Working people in 9 EU countries are earning less in 2017 than they did in 2010!. The countries are Italy, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Finland, Croatia and Cyprus. Working people in 6 of those countries – Italy, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece and Finland – also earned less in 2017 than they did in 2016.

The figures are contained in a new report ‘Benchmarking Working Europe 2018’ published on Monday 19 March by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) – see below for details.

The figures are calculated by the ETUI, from independent data published in February 2018, and relate to ‘real wages’ – the value of wages when cost of living is taken into account.

Development of real wages in %

2010-2017 2016-2017
Greece -19.1 -0.4
Cyprus -10.2 0.6
Portugal -8.3 0.1
Croatia -7.9 1.2
Spain -4.4 -1.5
Italy -4.3 -0.9
UK -2.4 -0.6
Belgium -1.1 -0.8
Finland -1.0 -2

Taken from figs 4.2 & 4.3 of Benchmarking Working Europe 2018, ETUI

Despite all the talk of economic recovery, working people in many large countries are still worse off than before the crisis” said Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary at the European Trade Union Confederation, “and are still losing out. It is no wonder that even the European Commission and European Central Bank are calling for stronger wage growth. It’s essential not only for social fairness, but also to drive growth and create quality jobs.

Now is the time to consider far stronger action to promote the best means of achieving fair and sensible pay increases – negotiations between employers and trade unions. EU public procurement rules should require contracts to be offered only to companies that are covered by collective agreements.”

The EU and member states could set targets to increase the number of working people covered by collective agreements. The EU should immediately require Member States to report what measures they will take to increase the coverage of collective agreements.”

The ETUI Benchmarking Report will be launched on 19 March, at 18h30 at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU, Avenue de Cortenbergh 30, 1040 Bruxelles. See https://www.etui.org/Publications2/Books/Benchmarking-Working-Europe-2018 for details.

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