Workers in two-thirds of EU states, including Cyprus, are receiving a smaller share of their country’s GDP than they were at the beginning of the decade, according to the European Trade Union Confederation.
It says that according to EU statistics the wage share to GDP ratio – a key indicator of inequality – has fallen in 18 member states between 2010 and 2019.
Ireland saw the biggest fall in the percentage of GDP paid out in wages at 19%, ahead of Croatia (11%), Cyprus (6%), Portugal (5%) and Malta (5%).
In Cyprus, the wage to GDP ratio has fallen in 2019 to 49.7% from 55.7% in 2009 or by -6 points. In Greece, the same ratio dropped to 49.6% in 2019 from 54.1% in 2009 or by -4.5 points.
The ETUC said these figures show working people are receiving a smaller share of the economic prosperity they help create.
“Ursula von der Leyen has pledged that the new European Commission will create an ‘economy that works for people’, which is a laudable goal that we fully support. But the Commission’s figures show that people in most member states are receiving a smaller share of the wealth they work hard to generate than they were at the start of the decade,” said ETUC deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch.
She added: “So von der Leyen will need to bring forward game-changing proposals which drive up wages across Europe to deliver on her pledge.
Raising statutory minimum wages in the countries where they exist would be a start, but workers also need the right to join a trade union and bargain collectively in order to get a genuinely fair share.”
But Cypriot employees are seeing better salaries than they were three years ago, as their wages have been on the rise since 2017.
According to Cyprus statistical services data, Cypriots’ average wage in 2018 stood at €1,938, rising from €1,891 in 2017, increasing by €2.5%. In 2016, the average wage was €1,878, dropping from €1,883.
The improvement in the broader economic climate has seen unemployment decline, as figures in 2018 dropped to 26,766 from 33,681 in 2017, recording a decrease of 20.5%.
In 2016, the unemployed numbered 38,593. In 2015 the number of registered unemployed was 43,159 and in 2014 it was 47,197.
In 2013, when international creditors had stepped in pushing for fiscal restructuring, the number of unemployed was 46,765.