WORKERS are feeling the pinch as new figures reveal that pay has fallen by almost 4pc in the space of a year.
Average weekly earnings fell by 3.8pc from the first quarter last year to the same period this year.
The Central Statistics Office said this was due to a drop in average hourly pay and number of hours worked.
Its figures show that the weekly earnings of the lowest paid workers in the economy -- clerical, sales and service staff -- fell by 5.9pc in the year to the first quarter of 2010.
Only in two out of 13 sectors did average weekly earnings rise. Topping the table were weekly earnings of €1,013.59 in the financial, insurance and real estate sector, up 1pc on the previous year.
Meanwhile employees in professional, scientific and technical jobs earned an average of €856.30 a week, up 3.1pc.
Trade union Mandate said the latest earnings figures showed that workers on lower incomes were being squeezed the hardest by the recession.
"Ironically, while the incomes of the lowest paid workers are falling lower than others within the economy, the pressure they are experiencing from rising prices is the greatest," said the union's John Douglas.
He said average weekly earnings for such staff were now less than €470 per week.