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Average median pay in the UK is still worth £2,270 less in real terms than it was in 2008, a shortfall of £44 a week, figures by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have revealed.
Its analysis showed despite some strengthening of real wages over 2014 to 2015, UK workers still had a long way to go to restore earnings lost following the longest squeeze on wages since records began in the 1850s.
In a statement, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: "The government must do the right thing for the economy, and the right thing by workers. They should invest more in the skills and infrastructure the UK needs for higher productivity."
The average UK annual wage increased in real terms by £435 from 2014 to 2015 – the first annual increase for several years – with only one region (East Midlands) experiencing a net loss. However, current indications suggest that the wage recovery may already be stalling.
The TUC warned that government plans to continue holding back wages in the public sector will have a significant drag on average wage growth.
In December 2015, the Office for National Statistics revealed that in the August-October quarter of the year, the average UK salary grew at its slowest pace since January-March of the same year while the employment figures showed that wage growth was more volatile than expected.
The TUC says forthcoming increases to the minimum wage are not enough and the government's Trade Union Bill will weaken the power of workers to negotiate a fair share of economic growth through decent pay rises.
This could lead to slower wage growth becoming embedded as a longer-term problem, causing trouble not only for workers and their families, but also for businesses that rely on their spending.
"They should make sure that working people see productivity gains in their pay packets. And they should work positively with trade unions, instead of attacking workers and their representatives with the Trade Union Bill," O'Grady said.