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Merryn's Blog

The tide is beginning to turn: wages are on the rise

Wages have not risen much in real terms over the last decade. But there are some signs that the tide is turning, says Merryn Somerset Webb.

Wages have not risen much in real terms over the last decade. Some think they never will (because of robots, technology, the lack of union power, etc).

We aren't so sure, particularly given the news out last week from the ONS suggesting that the wages of those who have remained in continuous employment are actually up over 4% on the year.

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A selection of stories on the matter from this weekend are below. They don't tell us much yet. But perhaps the tide is beginning to turn.

1) Hundreds of health workers from 11 different unions strike today for four hours in protest at Jeremy Hunt's "Berlin Wall of intransigence" on pay.

2) "Ski holidays on slippery slope as chalet girls are promised pay rise", says the Times, as Austria rules that British holiday staff in Austria must be paid the local minimum wage of €1,000 a month.

3) "The movement in Europe is younger but it is energetic", says the Guardian of the campaign by fast food workers on both sides of the Atlantic to get fair pay. There have been strikes and protests 150 cities so far with some success in the likes of New York where the minimum hourly wage is to rise to $9 over the next two years. The key to success, say the campaign's drivers, is unity. "They have the best lawyers, but there are only a few of them and many of us. The only way we can win is by uniting. We have to stick together."

4) And finally, one from closer to home. The man who just delivered a boring looking parcel to me told me that until last year they all got a Christmas hamper as a bonus. Last year they got nothing. This year, they have been told they are getting cash. Progress...

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