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Issue:- 24 June 2009

Wage freezes and pay cuts show no sign of let-up in recession

THE newly-agreed pay deals continue to bear the brunt of the recession compared to long-term settlements, with around 40% resulting in wage freezes or even pay cuts, according to data from the Labour Research Department (LRD) Payline database.

"Pay freezes make up 23% of all pay deals for the three-month period from March to May 2009. But when these figures are divided into long-term deals and new deals, it is clear that the majority of freezes and cuts are being applied to newly-negotiated pay settlements. Pay median levels overall are down on last year's figures, but remain close to inflation levels at 2.4%. This figure is being propped up by the stability of a large number of long-term deals continuing to deliver above-inflation pay rises. Within new deals there is also a divide, between the majority, where unions continue to be able to negotiate a positive settlement, and those including some industrial sectors such as local newspapers and the motor industry where freezes have been applied across the board and redundancies and other cuts are also being experienced. Workers in these businesses are taking the full force of the downturn. Three-monthly medians show that in the period from March to May, the median increase was 2.4%, based on 150 agreements of which 35 settlements were pay freezes (23%) and three were pay cuts. But for new deals the picture looks much less rosy. Here, the three-month median to May was 1.5% based on 79 new annual settlements or the first stage in new long-term deals, of which 32 (40%) were freezes and two were cuts."
said LRD

Lewis Emery, LRD's pay and conditions researcher, said:- "Long-term deals are clearly supporting the overall level of pay rises, while two-fifths of new deals are either freezes or cuts. Union negotiators who do not have pre-agreed pay arrangements are struggling to win good deals. Particularly for those workers in the sectors most affected, there seems no let up in the recession yet as far as pay is concerned."


MERSEYSIDE Police are appealing for witnesses to the racially aggravated assault of two men that happened in Halsbury Road, Kensington, in the early hours of Sunday, 21 June 2009.

At just before 4am two African men were leaving the Wine Cross off-licence in Halsbury Road when three or four men got out of a Hackney cab. One of the men stood ouside the cab while the others went into the off-licence, and he started to racially abuse the victims.

The man assaulted both of the victims leaving one with minor injuries while the other was taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw. Two of his companions left the off-licence to chase the victim with the minor injuries down the road.

The offenders are all described as being white and in their 20s. One of the offenders was short, another was of medium height and the third was tall was an injured arm that was possibly in a sling.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Cowdrey said:- "Merseyside Police will not tolerate hate crime and I want to reassure the local community that we are doing everything in our power to catch these offenders. I would appeal to the driver of the Hackney cab to come forward as he may have information that is vital for the investigation. I would also appeal for anyone else who saw what happened or who has any information to call us on:- 0151 777 4564 or Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111."

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