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SURVEY: Most firms not ready to give staff pay rises

BUSINESS group IBEC said the majority of companies were not in a position to award pay increases this year, despite the total pay bill falling by 2.9pc.

The IBEC national pay survey of 467 companies found that half of all companies expect no change to their pay bill in 2011, but 62pc will freeze basic rates.

The group said that any expectations of pay rises before 2013 were unrealistic and said it was advising employers not to entertain any claims for pay increases in 2011 or 2012.

"Now more than ever we need to demonstrate that we can take the resolute action required to get our labour costs back into line," said IBEC director Brendan McGinty (pictured).