Wages down €10 on average with public sector taking biggest hit
AVERAGE wages have fallen nearly €10 a week over the past year, new figures reveal.
Public sector workers took the biggest hit to their pay. State employees saw their wages fall by 4.5pc, compared with a fall of 0.3pc in the private sector, new figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
Public servants saw their weekly pay fall by €43 to €903, while private sector workers suffered a much smaller drop of €2 to €608 per week.
Average hourly pay is still almost 50pc higher in the public sector at €28.29 per hour, compared with €19.04 in the private sector, although this does not reflect differences in the types of job or employee qualifications.
The lower earnings were down to pay cuts and reduced hours, according the CSO's Earnings and Labour Costs report for the third quarter of 2010.
The biggest reductions in working hours were seen in education (-7.6pc) and construction (-3.4pc) while there was an increase of 4.6pc in the hours worked in industry.
Teachers took the biggest hit on pay with weekly earnings down more than €100. But because of the low number of hours worked -- just 23 -- the hourly rate in education remained by far the highest of any sector at €33.55.
Overall employment fell by 3pc in the year in the private sector while it was down by 2.4pc in the public sector.
Construction bore the brunt of the job losses with a 26pc reduction in employment, followed by the financial, insurance and real estate sector which saw a 9.7pc drop and there was an 8.1pc fall in administrative jobs.
While wages fell across the board, medium-sized enterprises employing between 50 and 250 people had the biggest reductions.
Overall the number of people working in the public sector has fallen by 10,000 since autumn 2009, on top of a 6,500 decline the previous year.
Ulster Bank Economist Simon Barry said the figures showed continuing downward pressure on Irish labour costs.
Overall earnings were down almost 5pc from their peak at the end of 2008, he noted.