Three quarters of workers will be worse off in 2018 with many being “pushed to breaking point”, a new study has revealed.
The research by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) says Britain is becoming an increasingly overworked and underpaid nation, with nearly 80% of 2,000 people surveyed expecting to be poorer over the coming year as the cost of living crisis intensifies.
Three quarters said they did not feel the economy was working for them, despite Theresa May’s pledge to put working people at the heart of her term as Prime Minister.
A fifth of households said they had taken on a second job to make ends meet, with a further 20% seriously considering doing so.
Dr Faiza Shaheen, director of CLASS, said: “Workers in Britain are rapidly losing hope and believe there is no light at the end of the tunnel on pay.
“They are overworked, underpaid, stressed and beset with job insecurity and wage stagnation. With interest rates set to rise, workers are caught in a perfect storm.
“There are two economies in Britain; one where the government boasts about record employment and the other which is defined by work intensification and a never-ending pay squeeze.”
The report, called Labour Market Realities: Workers On The Brink, also revealed “alarming” levels of worker stress, with half of those surveyed reporting increased workload over the last 12 months.
It has been released to coincide with new labour market figures due out on Wednesday morning and calls for more worker representation on company boards, proper recompense for those who work overtime, more protections for agency workers and an end to spending cuts and public services.
“Ten years after the crash, the pressures on workers are now becoming the new normal,” Dr Shaheen added.
“This is not just about low productivity and a weak pound, but also about privatisation, austerity and Brexit. We need to address the fundamental imbalance in power between workers and employers.
“An economy that delivers good quality jobs and living standards is an economy that works for everyone.”
The former Save The Children worker, who joined CLASS in 2016, warned she “feared for the health and wellbeing of Britain’s workforce”.
“There is only so long that workers can make ends meet by maxing out their credit,” she said.
“Low income workers are close to breaking point and those on high income are also struggling to make ends meet.”
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the think tank’s report reflected “almost eight years of Tory economic failure”.
He added: “This new research exposes the reality of life in Britain for ordinary people under this government, with falling real wages and millions of workers forced to take on second jobs just to make ends meet.
“Three-quarters of working people believe the economy is not working for them and they are absolutely right.
“It’s been rigged by the Tories in the interests of the very few at the top, not the many who have been failed by endless cuts to public services and falling real wages.
“The next Labour government will shift the balance of power in our economy back towards working people, with investment across the country to create decent jobs, a £10 an hour minimum wage to end poverty pay, and improved rights at work.”
The government has said it is committed to improving living standards for working families.