Branch Secretary :

Feeling the squeeze - fight back on pay


Wages need to rise faster than inflation


This week’s figures for price inflation show prices rising at 3.6% per year (RPI) and forecast to remain steady.  That means we are still feeling a wage squeeze.


It does represent a fall and some of the press have reported the figures as though the pressure was off but, as the Resolution Foundation point out, real weekly earnings are still £15 below their previous peak with the gap not expected to close until well into the 2020s.  As Sharon Graham of Unite says “Wages need to rise faster than inflation if we are to do something about the huge decline in real-terms income over the last 10 years.”


Profitable Housing Association sector


In some sector of the economy employers argue that they are in difficulty and can’t afford decent pay rises but no one who looks at the record profitability of the housing association sector could believe that argument for a moment.



In the three months to January 2018, median pay settlements stood at 3%.  That means pay is still lagging in the economy as a whole.  There is no case for pay offers this low in the highly profitable housing association sector but sadly many housing employers are making pay offers which would result in further real terms pay cuts for their workers.   As we have reported some workers in the housing sector have achieved significantly better pay increases; for example at Mears and Peter Bedford


The Government’s preferred index of inflation, CPIH, fell to 2.5% and CPI to 2.7%.  Unite argues that negotiators should use the RPI as the basis for negotiations. For an explanation see here.


Child care costs up 7%


All the measures of inflation have weaknesses and certain groups are currently being hit hard by price rises.  The Family and Childcare Trust Childcare Survey published this month reports that a seven percent price hike is hitting parents’ pockets this year – bringing the average price for a part time nursery place for a child under two to a crushing £122 per week, or over £6,300 per year.  In Inner London – the most expensive region in the UK – the price of a part time nursery place for a child under two is £184 per week, or £9,500 per year. To read the full report see here.


Do get in touch with the branch if you help fighting back against the pay squeeze and see the Work Voice Pay section of Unites website.


Paul Kershaw, Chair Unite Housing Workers LE1111


Before Posting

We welcome debate and discussion on our website, but we also want an open, respectful, inclusive space in which forms of abuse or personal attack will not be tolerated. Comments will be moderated and will be removed if they are found to be unduly offensive. You should also be very careful in posting information about your employer. Employers do visit the website and if you think a comment could get you into trouble for releasing confidential or sensitive information, or for bringing the employer into disrepute, please do not post it. It remains your individual responsibility to ensure that what you post is appropriate. Please therefore just give a moment's thought to what you are saying. The types of comments that are likely to be moderated are:

  • Personal abuse or attacks on an individual.
  • Information which breaches another person's right to confidentiality.
  • The use of offensive language, including swear words, or language which is racist, sexist, or otherwise breaches equalities standards.
  • Anything that might place the Branch or the wider union in legal jeopardy.
  • Adverts or information which is posted for commercial gain.

* Name
* Email (will not be published)
* field is required