Pay settlements averaged 2.8 per cent in April because of rising headline inflation, according to independent pay analysts.
Figures from the Industrial Relations Services databank show whole-economy pay awards rose to 2.8 per cent in the three months to April 2000 - a rise of 0.3 percentage points on the 2.5 per cent figure recorded in each of the last six months.
The upturn in settlements - the first since August 1999 - reflects the steady upward drift in retail prices since the end of last year.
Headline inflation has risen by almost two percentage points since the start of the pay round, and IRS claims this has had an upward effect on wage deals.
Workers in the service industry got better pay deals, with an overall increase of 3 per cent, while those in manufacturing received 2.7 per cent.
A CBI survey showed a decline in pay awards for the service sector but a rise in manufacturing.
The CBI claimed service sector pay awards averaged 3.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to 3.7 per cent in the last quarter of 1999. Manufacturing sector pay awards averaged 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2000, compared to 2.2 per cent in the previous quarter.