UK: car industry boom doesn’t bring wage increases image

According to a Financial Times investigation on industry workforce earnings, even though production and profits are on the rise, a third of the industry’s workforce wages have actually shrunk.

Because of a rising employment for agency staff and temporary contracted workers, the average wage for those blue-collar workers on the production line, which already had the lowest earnings, is actually going down, raising concerns about the benefits of the most lauded industry after the recession.

Citing data from the Office of National Statistics, the Financial Times shows that over the past four years, vehicle production in the UK has gone up around 45% to see rising revenues from a £55 billion industry. Meanwhile, 30% of the workers, who are the lowest paid saw their earnings erode 7.5 % – while the average industry wage only went up by 2.3%.

“Everybody is taking advantage of weak regulation to hire lower-paid, less permanent workers,” said Roger Maddison, automotive national officer at the union Unite. “There is still a lot of work to be done until the full benefits of this UK car resurgence trickle down to everyone who is contributing.”

According to car manufacturers, workers compromising on frozen wages protected UK jobs and factories, reducing hours and being lower paid. Still, according to government data, in 2013 in the auto industry were employed 87,000 people, bellow 2004’s 123,000 workers or 2007’s total of 92,000.

Via Financial Times