Women in the UK will see their pay packets shrink by almost £40 a month this year, adding to an already sharp cost of living squeeze and ongoing gender pay gap.
According to analysis from Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Friday, women’s wages will decrease in real terms by £38 in 2022 as they bear the brunt of falling public sector pay due to accounting for nearly two-thirds of all public sector employees.
Females working in the public sector are already earning £90 a month less than a year ago, the TUC said, warning that with inflation set to rise further, women working in the public sector will see their pay packets squeezed even tighter this year.
Separate analysis by the union body also shows that many key workers are still earning thousands of pounds a year less, in real terms, than in 2010.
Nurses’ real wages are down more than £2,700 per year, while local government care workers are down more than £1,600 a year.
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The group has renewed calls for an emergency budget, insisting that chancellor Rishi Sunak must come back to parliament and help families get through the months ahead.
It has urged the government to boost pay, pensions and Universal Credit (UC), and impose a windfall tax on oil and gas profits to fund energy grants.
In addition to this, it is asking ministers to ensure public sector pay awards keep pace with the cost of living and restore a decade of lost earnings, as well as urging them to work with unions and employers to get pay rising across the economy.
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“Everyone who works for a living deserves to earn a decent living. Women already suffer from the punishing gender pay gap and will now see their wages fall off a cliff this year,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.
“The government cannot look on as women across Britain are pushed deep into the red. The chancellor must come back to parliament with an Emergency Budget. The longer ministers wait to deal with this living standards emergency – the more damage will be done.”
She added: “Our amazing key workers in the public sector got us through this pandemic. But their wages have plummeted over the last year - and there is worse to come unless the government acts.
“Women working in our schools, hospitals and across our public services deserve a decent pay rise. After more than a decade of standstill wages they cannot afford another year of real-terms pay cuts.”
It comes as UK inflation soared to 7% in the year to March, a fresh 30-year high. This was above economists' predictions of a 6.7% rise, and up from 6.2% in February.
Rising energy bills and fuel costs were largely behind the forecast-busting rise.
Meanwhile, UK pay awards remained flat in the first quarter of 2022, according to new data from XpertHR.
The median basic pay increase in the three months to the end of March 2022 was worth 3%, unchanged from the previous two rolling quarters.
Although pay rises stand at the highest level since December 2008 – when the headline award was at 3.6% – they now lag six percentage points behind retail price index (RPI) which is at 9%.
The gap between inflation, as expressed by the RPI, and pay awards is at a record high with the biggest gap seen since XpertHR’s records began in April 1984.
Watch: Why do we still have a gender pay gap?