1 Trade unions and the modern work place (James Adonis in Sydney Morning Herald) Jeez, you’d have to really hate being a union rep right about now. Seemingly everywhere you look there are examples of how the union movement’s relevance is plummeting, while its questionable behaviour is ramping up. In many ways, unions have morphed into the businesses they so despise. What they’ve spent so long opposing – the ruthless and greedy nature of the big corporates – they are now themselves guilty of, which is perhaps a reason why less than one in five people trust them to be their representatives at work.
2 UK living standard keeps falling (Katie Allen in The Guardian) Living standards in Britain have suffered their most prolonged decline for at least half a century, according to official data that has been seized on by Labour as further proof of a cost of living crisis under the coalition. A report from the Office for National Statistics found that real wages have been falling consistently since 2010, the longest such period since at least 1964, when comparable records began. Statisticians put the deterioration down to several factors such as a change in the number of hours people work as well as a fall in productivity.
The ONS also highlighted different inflation rates between what is produced in Britain and what is consumed, helping to explain the divergence between productivity and real wage growth since 2010. In other words, the rate of inflation experienced by workers spending their pay was not the same as the rate of inflation in the goods their employers were selling.
The effect from hours worked in the labour market was to put downward pressure on real wage growth during the downturn but upward pressure more recently. Real wages may also have been affected by rises in non-wage costs of hiring, such as national insurance contributions, which can prompt firms to tweak workers' pay to manage their overall costs.
Worryingly for an economy still struggling to rebalance towards more manufacturing and away from reliance on consumer demand, there was some effect on real wages from the changing composition of Britain's workforce. That came particularly from the shift from higher paid workers in the manufacturing sector towards lower paid services industries.
3 India growth slowest in decade (Khaleej Times) Indian government on Friday sharply revised down economic growth for financial year 2012-13 to 4.5 per cent from its earlier estimate of five per cent due to lower farm and manufacturing output. According to the first revised estimates of national income for 2012-13 released by the Central Statistics Office, India’s gross domestic product expanded by 4.5 per cent. This is the slowest pace of economic expansion in a decade. The country’s GDP expanded by 6.7 per cent in 2011-12.
The CSO data also showed lower than estimated growth numbers for exports, capital investment and consumption sectors, suggesting deeper underlying weaknesses in Asia’s third-largest economy, which grew at more than nine per cent before the 2008 global financial crisis.