UK pay deals remain stable at 2.9 per cent, according to the independent IRS (Industrial Relations Services) Pay Databank.
The research reveals that there has been a clear upturn in deals in the early phase of the all-important spring bargaining round, with the fall in settlements at the end of 2002 now appearing to be something of a short-lived blip.
The IRS headline measure (the median) is pitched at 2.9 per cent in the three months to February, unchanged from the previous rolling quarter.
Settlements have responded to the upturn in inflation around the turn of the year, after easing back to 2.5 per cent in December.
Last month, settlements mirrored the January headline inflation rate of 2.9 per cent, and have remained there in February, as inflation ticked up to 3.2 per cent.
Other key findings include:
- Deals in the public sector continue to outstrip those in the private sector. In the 12 months to February 2003, pay settlements in the public sector were pitched at 3.3 per cent, unchanged from January’s slightly revised figure. This compares to an equivalent median pay award of 2.6 per cent in the private sector.
- Service sector settlements have rebounded and now exceed manufacturing pay deals. Settlements in services have jumped from 2.7 per cent in the three months to January 2003 to 3 per cent in the three months to February 2003, providing further evidence of the general upturn in awards. By contrast, those in manufacturing remain constant at 2.9 per cent, meaning deals are now marginally more generous in the UK’s service sector.
- Settlements are higher than during the equivalent period last year. More evidence of the upturn in pay awards in the early part of 2003 comes from a matched sample of 39 deals from the same quarter in 2001/02. It reveals that 20 settlements are higher this time round, with 10 lower and nine the same.
- IRS Pay and Benefits Bulletin editor, David Carr, said: “At first glance this hardly suggests that pay settlements are buoyant. However, if you turn the clock back a few months, wage deals were very weak. And given the weakness of the economic climate and uncertainties caused by events in Iraq, the recovery in settlem