Annual wages down €700 in just three months

Average annual earnings have fallen by almost €700 in only the last three months in spite of people working longer hours.

The latest figures from the CSO show that between the second and third quarters of this year average weekly earnings fell from €684.97 to €671.70. That meant a €690 decrease in average annual earnings to €34,928.

The fall is in spite of an, albeit small, increase in the average hours worked, from 31.8 to 31.9.

Across the economic sectors, the CSO found average weekly earnings increased in just six of the 13 sectors in the year to the third quarter of this year.

The largest percentage increase was in the industry sector where wages went up by 3.4%to €832.59. However, in the “professional, scientific and technical activities” sector there was a 5.3% decrease to €750.35.

The fall in weekly wages was more pronounced in the public sector than the private. In the former there was a decrease of 0.4% (€2.24) to €605.98, in the latter it was 0.9% (€8.13) to €905.89.

The CSO also looked at pay movement over the last four years and found that, over that time the largest drop was 12.1% to €782.63 in education and the largest rise was 7.3% to €709.82 in construction.

ISME, which represents small and medium-sized enterprises, said state employees enjoyed a “massive 50% premium” in pay rates compared to the private sector and called for the extension of the Haddington Road Agreement to 2017 “to allow for some semblance of equity across the economy”.

“The private-sector is no longer willing to pay for excessive public sector wages through high taxes and the loss of private sector jobs and businesses,” said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding.

“The public sector has been largely sheltered from the wreckage of the recession and continues to be paid Tiger wages as a result of increments, despite all the opposition to Croke Park and Haddington Road.”

However Impact, one of the public sector unions, said the Haddington Road Agreement had achieved €1bn in savings to the exchequer paybill as required and that Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin had made clear his intention to unravel the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (FEMPI) legislation which had cut public service pay twice.


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