Strike action

UK strike action and wage growth – repeats

Wages grew at a record annual pace between April and June 2023, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Regular pay grew by 7.8%, the highest annual growth rate since comparable records began in 2001.Inflation, which measures the pace at which prices are rising, has eased but remains relatively high at 7.9%. Thhe ONS suggested these latest figures demonstrates ‘people’s real pay is recovering‘ and that basic pay is growing at its fastest since current records began’.

However, wage growth is still not quite outstripping the pace of price rises and inflation is still high. Figures suggest that, taking into account the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, average regular pay fell by 0.6%.

There are signs in the ONS’s data that the UK employment market is easing. The jobless rate rose from 4% to 4.2%, while the number of people in employment ticked lower.

Backward stats..?

The fall in employment in the three months to June and the further rise in the unemployment rate will be welcomed by the Bank of England as a sign labour market conditions are cooling. These comments from an analyst were presented as welcome news – but they are odd really when an economy needs good levels of employment (not unemployment). We live in weird times! Good news! Bad news!

The Bank of England is still generally expected by many pundits to increase its key interest rate again to 5.5% before ending the current run of rate rises.

The number of vacancies in the UK jobs market fell again, down 66,000 between May and July 2023. However, there are still more than one million vacancies.

Strike action adds to inflationary pressure

List of workers striking for higher pay

  • Teachers
  • Tube staff
  • Railway workers
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • NHS staff
  • Ambulance workers
  • Passport Office workers
  • Border control staff
  • Airport workers
  • Civil servants
  • University staff
  • Barristers

This is by no means an exhaustive list – just a sample of the demands placed on resources through strike action that impacts inflation through a period of fast wage growth.

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