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More pay restraint ahead

CBI Scotland has urged the Scottish Parliament not to support a living wage.

CBI Scotland's senior policy executive Lauren Paterson said: "Pay restraint has played an important role in supporting current levels of employment...Pay restraint is set to continue with containing labour costs cited as the second-highest workforce priority for businesses in the next 12 months...decisions on pay must be left at the discretion of the individual business, taking into account their wider business strategy, including affordability."

Dave Watson, Scottish organiser of Unison, said: "One of the primary causes of the longest and deepest recession for a generation has been the shift from wages into profits...It's the fat-cat pay of the CBI bosses that is out of control."

Britain's workers are suffering the most protracted squeeze on their incomes since the long depression of the 1870s and are now well into their fourth year of falling real wages. High inflation and stagnant pay for many workers mean that real wages have now fallen for 40 months, according to calculations by the TUC. It says that is the longest such stretch of financial pain since 1875 to 1878, when the world economy was mired in the so-called long depression.

Economists say there is little prospect of wages outstripping inflation any time soon. TUC senior economist Duncan Weldon said: "At the very, very best it will be mid-2014 and even then it will take lots of time to make up the lost ground."

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