Global Wages Decline - US Income Gap Worst of Developed Countries

Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 06:15 am
Millions of workers face "painful" wage cuts because of the global economic crisis, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.

"For the world's 1.5 billion wage-earners, difficult times lie ahead," said ILO director general Juan Somavia.

The body forecasts that global growth in real wages will reach 1.1% at best in 2009, after rising 1.7% in 2008.

In industrialised countries, wages are expected to fall by 0.5% in 2009 after rising by 0.8% in 2008.

Source/full report atBBC

The wage crisis is not confined to poor or developing countries, the ILO says. Wages in industrialized economies are expected to actually fall, from an increase of 0.8 percent in 2008 to a decline of -0.5 percent in 2009. In the U.S., average wages are expected to decrease by about 1 per cent in 2008 and fall even further in 2009.

In the United States, workers at the top earn 4.75 times more than those at the bottom, compared to a ratio of 2.10 in Norway, 3.0 in France and 3.15 in Germany.

The report also points out that growing wage inequality is creating a dangerous situation. Since 1995, inequality between the highest and lowest wages has increased in more than two-thirds of the countries surveyed, often reaching socially unsustainable levels. Among developed countries, Germany, Poland and the United States are among the countries where the gap between top and bottom wages has increased most rapidly. In other regions, inequality also has increased sharply, particularly in Argentina, China and Thailand.

The report shows that collective bargaining is an efficient way to counter declining wages and fight wage inequality. However, the ILO notes that in the United States, less than 15 percent of workers are covered by union collective bargaining, compared with more than 70 percent in a number of European countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands and Spain.

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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 04:21 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
and this is what it's like in canada :


B.C. hit by sharpest wage decline in Canada
We have less purchasing power now than we did in 1981, figures from 2006 census show

Friday, May 02, 2008

CREDIT: Mark Van Manen/Vancouver Sun
Arlene Oropel was one of many Filipino Nurses (who has recently been working with the elderly) to attend a May Day Human rights rally Thursday night at Grandview Park.

British Columbians have less spending power than they did 25 years ago, 2006 census data reveals, but there is no single reason.

A shift away from industrial employment and towards service-sector jobs, the proportion of new immigrants in the workforce and rising interprovincial population migration all contributed.

B.C.'s median wage -- the level at which half the work force earns more and half earns less -- dropped by just over 11 per cent over 25 years to stand at $42,230 in 2005, the sharpest drop of all provinces, according to inflation-adjusted census data released Thursday by Statistics Canada.

The inflation-adjusted median wage in 1980 was $47,605.

B.C. and Quebec were the only provinces to record declining median incomes between 2000 and 2005, with B.C. wages shrinking the most.

Nationally, the 2006 census showed growing income inequality in Canada with median wages stagnant over the previous 25 years.

"Basically it means that individuals have less purchasing power than they did in 1981, which is rather striking," Ken Peacock, research director for the Business Council of B.C. said in an interview.

we just had our annual company-sponsored "retirees luncheon ".
the compnny has always provided quite exceptional "retiree" benefits . the most important one being "extended health benefits" for dental , additional home nursing care , out-country-travel etc .
these benfits were in the past available after only five years of service but now are only available after twenty years of full-time employment with the company .
the recent financial turmoil has not been kind most companies assets and reserves !
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cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 07:50 pm
The trend in wages and benefits will be on the decrease for quite a while. Many cash rich companies are already extending holidays without pay to save on one of the most expensive costs to employers. That "automatically" reduces pay and benefits, but many companies will no longer provide spousal and family health plans or increase the workers co-pays - which ends up reducing their wages.

Starting wages for new jobs are already at the lower end of the scale, and pay raises will be smaller and fewer in the future.

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Reply Wed 26 Nov, 2008 10:17 pm
Rather glad we signed an EBA earlier in the year which guarantees wages growth of 15% over the next 3 years. We might lose a bit of overtime, but at least we've got jobs.
cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 09:57 am
Those lucky enough to be in the job market today shouldn't take things for granted; work harder and produce more to show your bosses that you make a difference in their company. That will ensure that during layoffs, you'll be the last one considered for a pink slip, and on the more positive side, you may get promoted.
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 01:36 pm
@cicerone imposter,
We CAN'T get laid off. While ever the company exists for the next 3 years, we'll be there. It's part of our agreement. What they are doing at the moment, is reducing the workforce of external contractors. Very significant reductions. But they've decided to go ahead with the $100M reline of one of our blast furnaces, so management obviously believes that long term, the company's future is secure.
cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 02:04 pm
Don't kid yourself, Wilso. Many at Enron (energy) and the three auto makers in Detroit thought their jobs, pension and health care were sacrosanct. Even those who retired some years ago with "guarateed" health insurance found them to be costing more out of pocket, and some disappearing all together. Caution is the word.

Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:30 pm
@cicerone imposter,
The first blast furnace at our plant was blown in in 1928. Steel making began in 1931. The company has faced worse crises than this in the last 77 years, and has always come through. Of all the businesses in this country, I'm more certain of the long term security of this one, than any other.
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:33 pm
wage disparities always tear societies apart if left unchecked, but we have not given a ****. we pretend that we don't know, head in the sand and all that.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 07:22 pm
Wilso, I'm sure you're right about your assessment about your company; just call me a skeptic when it comes to job security - especially in this world economy where people are losing jobs with little or no notice before they're booted out the door.

It makes me angry, because all the tell-tale signs were with us from last year, but nobody paid any heed to all the bells ringing in our ears.

We're at a point in this world crisis where many more people will be losing their jobs, their homes, and their ability to buy food. All those smart MBAs who dreamed up all those subprime mortgage investment instruments that enriched those at the top while screwing all those ignorant home buyers who should not have even contemplated buying a home with their skimpy incomes. They have never learned that any get rich quick schemes are doomed to failure, except this time it hurt main street as much as it hurt wall street.

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